Earlier this month, two of the world's biggest tech companies announced a collaboration with global healthcare systems. Google and Apple want to provide COVID-19 contact tracing information by using the Bluetooth connectivity of Android and iOS smartphones. The process will use compatible health apps to warn users if they are within proximity of an individual who could be infected with the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Facebook launched its Community Help page to hopefully encourage users to aid each other amid the health crisis. Now, the company plans to gather data for improved tracking.

For now, the social media group is rolling out a survey asking users about symptoms they might be experiencing. This platform is presently only available in the U.S. but might launch globally soon. This coronavirus tracking process is in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, which is expected to share the results of this study shortly. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg assures people that all collected data are directly forwarded to the aforementioned medical researchers only, reports the Independent.

According to Zuckerberg, the surveys are allegedly recording millions of submissions a week. For added reliability, the team will then compare everything with publicly available reports. The ultimate goal is to help the government and public health officials come up with plans based on how far COVID-19 spreads. The insight could hopefully stop the transmission of the virus. Most hospitals are already at full capacity and equipment shortages are causing problems for healthcare professionals and first responders.

"We're hopeful that this will help governments and public health officials around the world who might not otherwise have this kind of precise data to make decisions in the weeks and months ahead," he stated. It is understandable why there might be some people who will be reluctant to take the survey. Facebook has been criticised for its privacy issues in the past. Therefore, not everyone might be willing to participate in the survey.

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S. May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Facebook is regularly being used by others to spread fake news and other problematic posts. As such, the developers are coming up with ways to curb misinformation and flag questionable posts. The bottom line is that the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic will require cooperation.