Facebook is using its trove of data on 2.4 billion people to build maps to help fight diseases



Facebook is using its hoards of data on two billion-plus users to build maps to help combat the spread of diseases On Monday, the Silicon Valley technology giant announced disease prevention maps — a set of maps available to health organisations and NGOs showing information like the movement of people and population density to help them understand people's activity, with the aim of learning how epidemics and outbreaks might appear and evolve, and how best to tackle them Some of this data is drawn from Facebook's own proprietary treasure trove of data on its 2 38 billion users; this is the case with its movement maps that show how populations are moving from location to location in a given area, and its network coverage maps that show the extent of cellular coverage in a region Facebook also uses outside data sources to produce maps, namely a high-resolution population density map that draws from commercially available datasets The disease prevention maps are the latest offering from Facebook's Data For Good efforts, which tries to use data to address humanitarian issues It previously created similar maps to help first responders and aid groups deal with natural disasters like earthquakes and forest fires, and is now expanding to tackle health emergencies In an interview, with Business Insider, Facebook's policy lead on Data for Good, Laura McGorman, said that data on human movement can be "a total black box for health organisations it's a huge gap we can fill." Groups on the ground already have mechanisms for monitoring actual outbreaks — but Facebook's data can offer new insight into "how human mobility patterns influence the spread of that disease " Facebook is giving a select group of partners access to the new maps, including Harvard School of Public Health, International Medical Corps, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London, Northeastern University, UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum (Facebook isn't selling access to the data, and the efforts are being run on a non-commercial basis ) Do you work at Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at [email protected] com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please ) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.Read more:— Years of Mark Zuckerberg's old Facebook posts have vanished The company says it 'mistakenly deleted' them.— Car-bomb fears and stolen prototypes: Inside Facebook's efforts to protect its 80,000 workers around the globe— Leaked Andreessen Horowitz data reveals how much Silicon Valley startup execs really get paid, from CEOs to Sales VPs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *