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Facebook Surveys Users To Help Researchers Identify Coronavirus Clusters

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Facebook Surveys Users To Help Researchers Identify Coronavirus Clusters

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) announced Monday that it is surveying users for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms to help research efforts at Carnegie Mellon University.

What Happened

The social media platform's users in the United States will see a prompt for the optional survey at the top of their news feed starting Monday.

The Delphi Research Center at CMU will utilize the information to "generate new insights on how to respond to the crisis," Facebook said in a statement.

The efforts will include identifying possible COVID-19 clusters by creating "heat maps" based on the symptoms reported by users.

"This information can help health systems plan where resources are needed and potentially when, where and how to reopen parts of society," the social media company said.

Facebook may make the survey available in other countries if the research efforts prove to be useful, it said.

CMU won't "share individual survey responses" with the social media company, according to the statement. Facebook, in turn, won't "share information about who you are with the researchers."

Why It Matters

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google LLC similarly started surveying users on behalf of the CMU researchers late last month.

White House officials have suggested that a vaccine for the coronavirus will take at least 12 to 18 months to be available at a mass scale, even if the clinical trials of early developers like Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) are successful.

In the absence of a vaccine or drugs to counter COVID-19, officials have focused on containment measures, including identifying possible clusters and imposing lockdown to stop the spread.

Price Action

Facebook shares closed 7.37% higher at $165.55 on Monday and traded slightly lower at $165 in the after-hours session.

 

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