How Facebook is Helping Fight COVID-19 

As the pandemic brings the world to a halt, Facebook has introduced three new kinds of maps available for agencies to access. These maps shall help healthcare agencies to make better-informed decisions, understand patterns, forecast, and execute protective measures. Read More:

How Facebook is Helping Fight COVID-19 
How Facebook is Helping Fight COVID-19 

How Facebook is Helping Fight COVID-19 

Organizations across the world have been fighting the new Coronavirus with all their might. Technology, healthcare workers, and essential workers have become the frontline of this war. Data and predictive analytics have emerged as keystones in this war against the virus. To provide health workers and organizations with a dynamic database, social networking site, Facebook has come up with Disease Prevention Maps to help healthcare workers.

The Data for Good initiative by Facebook introduced these maps to improve healthcare and health outcomes for communities globally. These maps offer free data to public safety agencies and are built on Facebook’s strong arsenal of 2.5 billion users. 

Facebook has offered this data to non-profits, humanitarian organizations, governments, and public health agencies in aggregates to protect the privacy of the people. Previously these maps included high-resolution population density maps with estimates of demographics, maps showing movement and transition of population, and maps that cover cellular networks. 

As the pandemic brings the world to a halt, Facebook has introduced three new kinds of maps available for agencies to access. These maps shall help healthcare agencies to make better-informed decisions, understand patterns, forecast, and execute protective measures. 

The three new Disease Prevention Maps introduced by Facebook include the Social Connectedness Map, Co-Location Maps, and Movement Range Trends.

Social Connectedness Map

Social Connectedness Maps show friendships and global connections of people. These maps depict ties across states and countries and enable epidemiologists to understand and forecast the pattern of the spread of Coronavirus. This map can prove especially useful to understand which areas have concentrated connectedness and which could be susceptible to the spread of the virus. 

For example, New York on the American East Coast is one of the most connected regions on the Facebook Social Connectedness Map and also happens to be one of the worst-hit cities with the virus. 

Co-location Maps

In simple terms, co-location maps help analyze the probability of people from one region coming in contact with people from another region. These predictive maps help healthcare workers and agencies analyze where the disease might show up in a large number of people. 

This map is especially useful for creating prevention strategies and understanding spread patterns. Co-location patterns in Italy show how deeply connected and co-located the spread of the virus was. 

Movement Range Trends

One of the most important maps introduced by Facebook, Movement Range Maps are created at a local level and help policymakers and authorities analyze if preventive measures and quarantines are being followed.

These maps show whether people are staying close to their homes or venturing out to public places at scale, visiting different parts of towns or crossing state lines. This information helps authorities understand whether preventive measures such as lockdowns are working or not. It also helps them understand why they are not working in case people still choose to move around.

As with all maps created by Facebook, these maps only show aggregates to protect privacy. These near-real-time datasets can prove highly beneficial if used correctly and diligently. The data from Facebook, combined with other resources, equip our healthcare professionals, scientists, policymakers, organizations, authorities, and agencies with the resources they need to fight for us.