On Monday, Facebook and the institutions it is working with released the first reports and maps built using data on COVID-19. The data was collected by surveys shared across the social network. Partner organizations include Carnegie Mellon, New York University, and the Mila research institute.

Facebook Aggregates Data to Help Fight COVID-19

Writing in the Washington Post, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the team at Carnegie Mellon is “getting approximately 1 million responses a week in the United States,” to the COVID-19 tracking surveys. “The results are promising,” he added. “They correlate with publicly available data on confirmed cases, which suggests this data can help predict where the disease will spread.” Mr. Zuckerberg pointed out that the data “can also be used to build detailed county-by-county insights.”

[Facebook Launches Survey to Help Health Researchers Forecast COVID-19]

Facebook is producing its own maps, based on the aggregated Carnegie Mellon data, which will be updated daily. “Facebook can uniquely help researchers and health authorities get the information they need to respond to the outbreak and start planning for the recovery,” said Mr. Zuckerberg. He addressed privacy concerns too, highlighting that the data is collected solely for responding to COVID-19. It is “essential that this is done in a way that protects people’s privacy and respects human rights,” wrote Mr. Zuckerberg.

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Lee Dronick

Is this reinventing the wheel?