Zuckerberg: We Have 'New Superpower' in COVID-19 Fight

Data collection: Facebook releases county-by-county maps of people reporting symptoms
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2020 9:50 AM CDT
Zuckerberg: We Have 'New Superpower' in COVID-19 Fight
In this Jan. 31, 2020, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City.   (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

This time, Facebook hopes to use data collection for the greater good. (Unlike, say, this time.) The company on Monday unveiled a map that tracks coronavirus symptoms county by county across the US, reports CNET. The idea is to help hospitals and local health officials get a better sense of the virus's presence in their communities and to stay ahead of hot spots. The information comes from a survey that Facebook users fill out voluntarily, and the questionnaire itself is from the Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Group. Facebook says it doesn't "receive, collect, or store individual survey responses" in a map disclaimer.

"The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good," Zuckerberg writes in a Washington Post op-ed. "If we use it responsibly, I'm optimistic that data can help the world respond to this health crisis and get us started on the road to recovery." NBC News notes that two Facebook alums—Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger—have launched a website to track the spread of COVID-19 on the state level. (More Mark Zuckerberg stories.)

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