Facebook unveils tool mapping reported coronavirus symptoms

Facebook unveils tool mapping reported coronavirus symptoms
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Facebook on Monday unveiled a map with a county-by-county breakdown of people reporting coronavirus symptoms.

The map will be updated daily and is based on data from an opt-in survey Facebook is running with researchers at Carnegie Mellon.

The map shows counties across the U.S. by the percentage of people with symptoms, color coding each region with a shade of red. Lighter shades indicate lower percentages of people with symptoms, and a deep red indicates counties with 2.4 percent or more of people reporting COVID-19 symptoms. 

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: FBI, DHS warn that foreign hackers will likely spread disinformation around election results | Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day | Trump to meet with Republican state officials on tech liability shield Facebook to 'restrict the circulation of content' if chaos results from election: report 2.5 million US users register to vote using Facebook, Instagram, Messenger MORE said the map could help give officials a sense of where resources may need to be directed. 

“Understanding how COVID-19 is spreading is critical for local governments and public health officials as they allocate scarce resources like ventilators and PPE, and eventually to decide when it is safe to start re-opening different places,” Zuckerberg said in a post unveiling the map. “Researchers believe these symptom survey maps can be an important tool in making these decisions.”

Zuckerberg said the social media platform is “uniquely suited to run these surveys” due to its global community of “billions of people.” 

He said the surveys will begin globally this week to create maps providing county-by-county data in almost every country in the world where Facebook operates.