Facebook To Start Healthcare Programme

By on October 7, 2014
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Social media giant, Facebook, is expanding to health care, according to Reuters. The plan, which is still at the developmental stage could see Facebook creating online “support communities” that would connect Facebook users suffering from various ailments.facebook

Reuters said Facebook was also working on new preventative care applications that would help people improve their lifestyles. It said the social media giant “has been holding meetings with medical industry experts and entrepreneurs, and is setting up a research and development unit to test new health apps.”

Reuters said, “Facebook product teams noticed that people with chronic ailments such as diabetes would search the social networking site for advice,” one former Facebook insider said.

In addition, the proliferation of patient networks, such as PatientsLikeMe, demonstrates that people are increasingly comfortable sharing symptoms and treatment experiences online.”

“I could see Facebook doing well with applications for lifestyle and wellness, but really sick patients with conditions like cancer aren’t fooling around,” the Chief Executive of Evolent Health, Frank Williams, said.

Evolent Health is a company that provides software and services to doctors and health systems

People would need anonymity and an assurance that their data and comments wouldn’t be shared with their online contacts, advertisers or pharmaceutical companies, Williams told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Facebook has issued an apology to drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive LGBT community over its real-name policy that sought to verify the authenticity of suspicious accounts.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Facebook’s Chris Cox said that they were caught off guard where an individual on Facebook decided to report several hundreds of these accounts as fake.

These reports were among the several thousands of fake name reports Facebook processes every single week, 99 per cent of which are bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, frauds, hate speech, and more.

“I want to apologise to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbours, and members of the LGBT community for the hardship that we have put you through in dealing with your Facebook accounts over the past few weeks,” he said.

“In the two weeks since the real-name policy issues surfaced, we have had the chance to hear from many of you in these communities and understand the policy more clearly as you experience it.

“We have also come to understand how painful this has been. We owe you a better service and a better experience using Facebook, and we are going to fix the way this policy gets handled so everyone affected here can go back to using Facebook as you were,” he added.

The process followed by Facebook is to ask the flagged accounts to verify they are using real names by submitting some form of Identity — gym membership, library card, or piece of mail. Cox said they had had this policy for over 10 years, saying until recently, it had done a good job of creating a safe community without inadvertently harming groups like what happened.

“Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess.

“Part of what’s been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook,” he explained.

Cox said this was the right policy for Facebook for two reasons. “First, it is part of what made Facebook special in the first place, by differentiating the service from the rest of the Internet where pseudonymity, anonymity, or often random names were the social norm.

“Second, it is the primary mechanism they have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world from real harm,” he said.

He said, “The stories of mass impersonation, trolling, domestic abuse, and higher rates of bullying and intolerance are often the result of people hiding behind fake names, and it is both terrifying and sad.

“Our ability to successfully protect against them with this policy has borne out the reality that this policy, on balance, and when applied carefully, is a very powerful force for good.”

He also said, “All that said, we see through this event that there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected.

“These have not worked flawlessly and we need to fix that. With this input, we’re already underway building better tools for authenticating the Sister Romas of the world while not opening up Facebook to bad actors.”

“And we’re taking measures to provide much more deliberate customer service to those accounts that get flagged so that we can manage these in a less abrupt and more thoughtful way. To everyone affected by this, thank you for working through this with us and helping us to improve the safety and authenticity of the Facebook experience for everyone,” he added.