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Facebook begins sharing ‘aggregated’, ‘anonymised’ mobility data for COVID-19 response

On April 7, Facebook launched new tools that use "aggregated" and "anonymised" data on population movement, collected from users, that can show whether social distancing measures are working or when outbreaks are most likely to occur next. The tools, developed under the Facebook Data for Good program, offer Disease Prevention Maps, which show movement patterns at a region or country level that researchers can use to understand how diseases like COVID-19 spread. Co-location maps show the chances of people in one area coming in contact with people in another area, based on commute patterns for instance, to show chances of COVID-19 transmission to newer areas. Movement range trends uses data of people using Facebook on their mobile to show whether people are staying put in one location or visiting many parts of a region/county. Movement maps can also show if social distancing policies are being followed or enforced. The social connectedness index shows friendships across states and countries, which can help epidemiologists forecast the likelihood of disease spread, as well as where areas hardest hit by COVID-19 may need support. [caption id="attachment_212868" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A co-location map from Italy. Source: Facebook[/caption] [caption id="attachment_212869" align="aligncenter" width="890"] This map shows how connected East Village, New York is to the rest of the US. Source: Facebook[/caption] Network coverage maps are among the maps being opened for research, it shows where people on Facebook have cellular connectivity. "All data is de-identified, aggregated, and visualized as a polygon of network coverage by speed," Facebook said.…

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