Facebook coronavirus symptoms tracker launches in UK – and will reveal COVID-19 hotspots

FACEBOOK has released a coronavirus symptom tracker survey in the UK – just days after the feature launched in the US.

The tool will appear as a link at the top of the News Feed, and is designed to help scientists track COVID-19's spread.

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This voluntary survey appears at the top of the Facebook app news feed and aims to identify coronavirus hotspots.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch, saying the data can "unlock a lot of good".

"As the world fights covid-19 and countries develop plans to reopen their societies, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how the disease is spreading," the billionaire Facebook chief explained.

"Better data can help governments determine where to send resources such as ventilators and personal protective equipment — and eventually which areas are safe to start opening up again."

The US survey has already generated more than a million responses.

And this figure should rise sharply now that the survey is launching in the UK and other countries around the world.

Facebook explained on its blog: "As part of Facebook’s Data for Good program, we offer maps on population movement that researchers and nonprofits are already using to understand the coronavirus crisis, using aggregated data to protect people’s privacy.

"We heard from them how valuable this information can be in responding to COVID-19, and today we’re announcing new tools to support their work."

These new tools include "three new types of Disease Prevention Maps to help inform disease forecasting efforts and protective measures."

These maps, which could find out if social distancing is working, have been announced alongside the survey which will be for people in the US.

Facebook described the survey as "a prompt on Facebook encouraging people in the US to participate in a voluntary survey from Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center designed to help health researchers identify COVID-19 hotspots earlier."

Participants of the survey will be asked to answer questions about their health and symptoms.

Facebook has said that the identity of anyone who opts-in to the survey will be protected.

The information collected could be used to create "heat maps of self-reported symptoms".

This could then pinpoint areas that require more tests.

A similar symptom tracker has already been created in the UK by researchers at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals.

The COVID Symptom Tracker is helping to give a better understanding of the pandemic.


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In other news, WhatsApp has limited forwarding of ‘chain messages’ to just one chat in fight against fake news.

YouTube has said it will be reducing the number of recommended videos spreading a conspiracy theory that 5G caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

And, social media has been inundated with bots trying to spread fake coronavirus news.

What else do you think tech firms should be doing to help tackle the coronavirus crisis? Let us know in the comments!

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