Facebook and researchers from Carnegie Mellon teamed up to survey Facebook users about COVID-19 symptoms in order to identify potential hotspots. The survey, run by the Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center, will show up on top of people’s news feeds and will ask users to participate. Participation will require users to divulge information about their health so the survey is completely voluntary but Facebook assures that it will protect its users’ privacy.
“CMU Delphi Research won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about who you are with the researchers. 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 explained in a post.
Carnegie Mellon researchers will use the self-reported data from Facebook to generate insights on how to respond to the pandemic. Results may include creating heat maps, co-location maps, movement range trends and social connectedness indices. The survey will only be available in the U.S. for now but Facebook plans to roll it out in other markets if the results are helpful.