Despite skepticism about Facebook’s handling of health data, it’s certainly not alone. From wearables like the Apple Watch that can perform ECG readings to medication refill reminders on Alexa, more consumers are getting used to sharing their healthcare data with Big Tech. But no other gadget or app can top Facebook’s 2.5 billion-strong user base, which makes the move even more pressing for privacy advocates. The Preventive Health tool is only available in the US for now, but Facebook will consider making it available globally if it proves to be popular.
The social network is also riddled with people giving extremely specific advice on the use of veterinary drugs.
Company documents show antivaccine activists undermined the CEO’s ambition to support the rollout by flooding the site and using Facebook’s own tools to sow doubt about the Covid-19 vaccine.
Crowdsourcing medical advice on social media, is that a reliable way to get life-or-death health information?
Will users trust the social media giant to deliver information about preventative health? Facebook hopes so.
The company has had longstanding problems with posts containing promises of miracle cures, unproven scientific claims, and outright lies.
Nearly a year and a half after the Cambridge Analytica scandal reportedly scuttled Facebook’s fledgling attempts to enter the healthcare market, the social media giant is launching a tool called “Preventive Health” to prompt its users to get regular checkups and connect them to service providers.
Facebook has encompassed many things in its nine-year run. From a subtler version of a dating site to a gaming platform and a messaging hub. We’ve seen Facebook and its billion-plus users play a part in influencing politics, the form advertising takes, and how retail happens. Now we're starting to see Facebook begin to impact science and public health, and it could be Facebook's biggest industry-changing opportunity yet.
Hand-wringing about the merits and dangers of social media is as productive as debating gravity. In any case, social media isn’t some wild thing you do for its own sake, it’s what you do to do your job better.
And applying it to health care isn’t just inevitable: it’s the right thing to do in the interests of patients.
The feature looks likely to fill gaps in care—and to further draw users into Facebook’s ecosystem.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the files showed Instagram knew the social media network has a negative affect on teens’ mental health. Facebook has pushed back on the WSJ’s characterizations of its research, saying that “it is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is ‘toxic’ for teen girls.”
Big tech companies want to share data about you with your doctors.
Data privacy scandals, help in rigging elections, spreading fake news on COVID and vaccines: Facebook has been through a lot and users are not happy with the performance of the social media giant. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s company does not only have a political and social impact, but it’s also getting quite relevant in healthcare.
We looked around what Facebook currently does in healthcare and evaluated whether those are viable ways to follow in the future.
This is one in a series of articles highlighting the key people leading Big Tech companies’ move into digital health and life sciences.
Preventive Health is a new tool on Facebook that connects people to health resources and checkup recommendations from leading health organizations.