Zuckerberg details the ways Facebook and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are responding to COVID-19 – TechCrunch


Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a few of the steps that Facebook and his household’s non-profit, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, are taking to reply to the unfold of each the novel coronavirus often known as COVID-19 and viral misinformation about the sickness, in an announcement posted earlier this night.

Facebook’s response focuses on three areas: offering correct info; stopping misinformation; and offering knowledge for analysis (which isn’t creepy in any respect coming from Facebook).

To present correct info, Facebook is directing customers who seek for info on the coronavirus on its platform to the World Health Organization or native well being authority by means of an computerized pop-up. That notification on info can also be robotically populated into the information feed for everybody who’s in a rustic the place the World Health Organization has reported a case of person-to-person transmission.

“Given the developing situation, we’re working with national ministries of health and organizations like the WHO, CDC and UNICEF to help them get out timely, accurate information on the coronavirus,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We’re giving the WHO as many free ads as they need for their coronavirus response along with other in-kind support. We’ll also give support and millions more in ad credits to other organizations too and we’ll be working closely with global health experts to provide additional help if needed.”

To cease the unfold of misinformation on the platform, Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook was eradicating false claims and conspiracy theories flagged by world well being organizations and the firm is obstructing individuals from operating advertisements that strive to exploit the fears of the public by pitching snake oil cures.

Finally, and maybe most problematically, Facebook is “looking at how people can use our services to help contribute to broader efforts to contain the outbreak,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Researchers are already using aggregated and anonymized Facebook data — including mobility data and population density maps — to better understand how the virus is spreading.”

There are open questions round what controls Facebook has put in place to limit who has entry to the anonymized knowledge and what customers may find a way to do with that knowledge — or how lengthy they’ll keep entry as soon as the risk from the virus abates. Facebook had not responded to a request for remark by the time of publication.

Technology from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative can also be serving to with the medical efforts to halt the unfold of the illness. Working with the Gates Foundation, researchers financed by the two organizations have been in a position to totally sequence the genome of the virus that causes COVID-19 in a matter of days, making it simpler for individuals contaminated with the virus to be recognized.

That similar crew created a public model of the IDSeq device so scientists may examine the full genome in the context of different pathogens, Zuckerberg wrote.

Chan-Zuckerberg’s Biohub has additionally been working to develop a cell atlas, which maps completely different cell varieties in the physique. Some researchers are utilizing that atlas to strive and assess How the Coronavirus damages the lungs and establish potential remedies that would restrict lung harm brought on by the virus.

“There’s more we can do to help people feel less isolated and help one another and we’re working on some ideas we’ll share in the next few weeks, but for now the focus is on slowing the spread of the outbreak itself,” Zuckerberg wrote. “This is a difficult time for a lot of people and I’m thinking of everyone affected by this — the people who are sick or quarantined, their friends and family and of course the healthcare workers who are always on the frontlines of any outbreak. We’ll share more updates soon.”



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