In 2017, Facebook launched their Data for Good initiative with the aim of helping their partners with data to make progress on major social issues. And, since the onset of Covid-19, the project has been utilised to help fight the pandemic.
Over the past few months, healthcare researchers have used data sets released by Facebook to inform themselves when making Covid-19-related decisions across Asia, Europe and North America.
Now, the social networking site has released new visualisations and datasets to the public, along with a new survey to help researchers and healthcare providers even further.
These include a Covid-19 map and dashboard that presents international results from Facebook’s symptom survey, as well as its movement range datasets, “that are informing the public sector response to Covid-19 around the world”.
The company has also released to the public mobility datasets that show the rates at which different communities are reducing their mobility or remaining in the same place. “These use aggregated data and we’ve applied a differential privacy framework to protect people’s privacy in creating and sharing these datasets,” Facebook said in a statement.
In addition, the new map showing travel patterns between countries and states will provide researchers and NGOs with more insight on how long distance travel continues to impact the spread of COVID-19.
The survey, which included questions regarding people’s knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding Covid-19, was conducted in partnership with the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT and advised by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programmes and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Earlier this month, Facebook said that the Data for Good initiative simply aggregates data it collects from its apps and shares it in a de-identified way to help researchers, academics and others to address humanitarian crises and social issues.The company emphasised that research partners enrolled in the Data for Good programme only have access to aggregate information from Facebook and it does not share any individual information.
Some datasets are being shared publicly, but these are formatted to help prevent re-identification, it added.