Facebook May Be the Next Tech Company Collecting Your Health Data
Facebook may be the latest tech company eyeing your health information.
The social network is reportedly looking into creating a healthcare-related app and “support communities” on the site where people suffering from certain ailments would be able to connect, according to a Reuters report.
The “preventative care” would help users improve their lifestyles, it added.
Details about Facebook’s plans to enter the healthcare space are limited, but the company may have been meeting with medical industry experts for months to test and develop the app or applications.
The report also added that Facebook plans to launch a health app under a different name as a way to ease up on privacy concerns out of the gate. Facebook has been under scrutiny recently for a myriad of privacy concerns, including one related to manipulating users’ emotions as a part of a research study.
The news comes as at a time when other companies like Google and Apple are dabbling with health and fitness data. Apple recently launched its Health app, a hub for iOS 8 users to keep track of fitness goals and health-related information, and Google is working on Google Fit for Android that tracks similar data across various platforms and wearables.
Although it might seem strange for Facebook to dip its toes into health, its executives believe giving people a way to talk more about healthcare could increase engagement on the site too, the report said.
The site noticed an uptick in those with chronic ailments looking for advice, and creating a place where people could share treatment experiences and other information may be the Facebook’s way of addressing that demand.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has explored healthcare. In 2012, Facebook added an organ donor option to its Timeline, as a part of an effort to help those waiting for heart, kidney or liver transplants.
Reuters also points out that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who is training to become a pediatrician, recently pledged $5 million to the Ravenswood Health Center in East Palo Alto. That said, Facebook ramping up efforts in healthcare support is probably more strategic than personal.
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