Facebook on April 6 announced that it is teaming up with the Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center on a project aimed at generating new insights on how to respond to the coronavirus crisis. According to Facebook, some people in the United States will see a link at the top of News Feed, which will direct them to an optional, off-Facebook survey that will help health researchers better monitor and forecast the spread of COVID-19. The survey will include heat maps of self-reported symptoms which will help health systems plan where resources are needed and potentially when, where and how to reopen parts of society.
Facebook in a blog post said that if the results are helpful, it will make similar surveys available in other parts of the world. The social media giant further clarified that the Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about the user with the researchers. Facebook informed, "To help them measure results while protecting your privacy, we’ll share a random ID number that CMU will send back to us when someone completes the survey. Then we’ll share a single statistic known as a weight value that doesn’t identify you but helps correct for any sample bias."
Facebook also launched three new tools to help health researchers better understand how population dynamics influence the spread of disease. The three new tools shared by Facebook are Co-location maps, Movement range trends and The social connectedness index.
The Coronavirus infection has claimed more than 75,000 lives across the world and has infected over 13,52,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China was the most affected country until last month before Italy and Spain surpassed it to record the most number of deaths anywhere in the world due to COVID-19. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Iran have also overtaken China in terms of death toll related to COVID-19. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: AP)