- Facebook just rolled out an interactive COVID-19 map that shows how many people are reporting symptoms of the virus across the US.
- The map uses data from over one million people surveyed by Carnegie Mellon researchers on Facebook’s platform over two weeks.
- Facebook says a new sample of Facebook users will be surveyed every day to keep the map updated, and that survey responses are kept anonymous.
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A new interactive map created by Facebook shines a new light on the spread of coronavirus: Rather than rely on the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, it shows how many people are reporting coronavirus symptoms on a county-by-county level.
The map uses data from a survey of over a million Facebook users conducted by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, according to a Facebook statement.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook’s 2 billion-person user base makes it uniquely positioned to help researchers conduct sweeping surveys to better understand the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Facebook is uniquely suited to run these surveys because we serve a global community of billions of people and can do statistically accurate sampling,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post Monday morning. “We do this in a privacy protective way where only the researchers at Carnegie Mellon see individual survey responses — and Facebook only sees aggregated data.”
Facebook plans to continue carrying out weekly surveys to to keep the map updated. While the map currently only reflects US counties, the company will start running surveys globally in the coming weeks.
According to Zuckerberg, the data gathered from Facebook users could help health authorities and governments decide how and when to reopen certain parts of the world in the coming months.
Here’s how the map works.
The map shows a county-by-county breakdown of how many surveyed Facebook users are reporting COVID-19 symptoms.
You can also compare that to a map of Facebook users reporting flu symptoms county-by-county.
The map can also sort data by hospital referral regions, which could indicate which areas’ hospitals are poised to face the heaviest burden.
The interactive map lets you zoom in to view granular data at a county level.
Take a look at Facebook’s COVID-19 map here.