Facebook is joining forces with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in rolling out a survey form regarding the coronavirus.
As announced through the social media giant’s official website, the survey will be deployed through a link displayed at the top of users’ News Feeds.
The survey is completely optional and for U.S. accounts only, but those who choose to complete it should know that the data they provide will be used accordingly to help better track and even develop preventive measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Information is key
Although Facebook is hosting the survey, the data gathering and analysis is mostly handled by scientists from CMU’s Delphi Research Center.
One of the top priorities of the researchers is to gain fresh insights on how to proactively deal with the spread of COVID-19. The data gathered can be used to generate heat maps based on what symptoms are being reported by Facebook users.
Furthermore, the information collected should prove useful for healthcare authorities in determining which locations need help the most, as well as in monitoring which areas are starting to recover.
If the U.S. surveys do well, Facebook and CMU will be looking to replicate the process in other parts of the world.
Protecting the users’ privacy
As indicated in the official announcement, CMU researchers will not share any survey data with Facebook. In turn, the social media platform will not disclose any personal user information to the university.
“CMU Delphi Research won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about who you are with the researchers,” Facebook stated in the announcement. “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.”
Putting Facebook’s massive reach to good use
In the last few weeks, Facebook has been one of the most recognizable names in tech lending its resources and know-how in the fight against COVID-19.
Apart from its recent survey collaboration with CMU, the company has also launched a worldwide version of its Community Help feature, rolled out a new Coronavirus Community Hub on its Messenger platform, and even partnered with the World Health Organization in conducting a hackathon aimed at using the latest in tech to help counter COVID-19’s global spread.
Images courtesy of Facebook.