Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the map on Monday in a post on his Facebook page, saying data about the spread of coronavirus was “critical for local governments and public health officials as they allocate scarce resources” and could help dictate when “it is safe to start re-opening different places.”
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The map uses aggregate data from users who take an opt-in survey, Zuckerberg said. It is in collaboration with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
“Researchers believe these symptom survey maps can be an important tool in making these decisions,” Zuckerberg said in his post. “Facebook is uniquely suited to run these surveys because we serve a global community of billions of people and can do statistically accurate sampling.”
The map, which Zuckerberg said will be updated daily, shows an estimated percentage of people who have coronavirus symptoms on a county-by-county basis in the United States. For example, in Bronx County, New York, the map shows 2.49 percent of people have symptoms.
Zuckerberg said the map will expand to other countries this week.
Facebook is the big tech latest company to design coronavirus-related tools.
Google launched a website earlier this month that shows aggregated, anonymized data from users who have location history settings on their devices turned on to show changes in people’s movements at various locations.
A subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Verily Life Sciences, has set up a coronavirus screening website.
Meanwhile, Apple has also launched a coronavirus screening website where users can check off symptoms and circumstances to see what actions they should take.
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