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Social Media Giant Facebook Releases Maps to Help Fight Disease Outbreak

Public health officials often have challenges predicting where disease outbreaks, like malaria or cholera, will strike

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FILE - An Indian man surfs a Facebook page at an Internet cafe in New Delhi, India, Feb. 9, 2016. VOA

In a bid to fight disease outbreaks, Facebook has built new maps that can help its health partners better understand where people live, how they are moving and whether they have connectivity.

“All of these maps, when combined with information from health systems, can improve the way organisations deliver supplies and respond to outbreaks,” Laura McGorman and Alex Pompe, Data for Good, Facebook, wrote in a blog on Monday.

The high-resolution population density maps estimate not only the number of people living within 30-meter grid tiles, but also provide insights on demographics, including the number of children under five, the number of women of reproductive age, as well as young and elderly populations, at high resolutions.

“These maps aren’t built using Facebook data and instead rely on combining the power of machine vision AI with satellite imagery and census information,” McGorman and Pompe said.

“By combining these publicly and commercially available datasets with Facebook’s AI capabilities, we have created population maps that are 3X more detailed than any other source,” they wrote.

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FILE – The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

But Facebook used its data on over two billion users to create movement maps.

Public health officials often have challenges predicting where disease outbreaks, like malaria or cholera, will strike.

However, research has found that pairing health system information with data on human mobility can yield valuable insights about diseases spread by human-to-human contact.

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“Our movement maps aggregate information from people who are using Facebook on their mobile phones with location services enabled, providing real-time snapshots into mobility patterns,” the social networking giant said.

Because the majority of people use Facebook on mobile phones that rely on cellular networks, the social networking giant has also created real-time maps that show health organisations whether people can be reached with an online message in advance of activities like vaccination days or bed net distributions. (IANS)

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Social Media Giant Facebook Sues Chinese Company Over Alleged ad Fraud

According to a report in CNET, Facebook said it has paid more than $4 million in reimbursements to victims of these hacks

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

Facebook has sued a Chinese company for allegedly tricking people into installing a malware, compromising peoples accounts and then using them to run deceptive ads.

Facebook blamed ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. and two individuals associated with the company — Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao – for the fraud.

The defendants deceived people into installing malware available on the Internet. This malware then enabled the defendants to compromise people’s Facebook accounts and run deceptive ads promoting items such as counterfeit goods and diet pills, the social media giant said in a blog post.

The defendants sometimes used images of celebrities in their ads to entice people to click on them, a practice known as “celeb bait”, according to the lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

In some instances, the defendants also engaged in a practice known as cloaking, Facebook said.

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The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

“Through cloaking, the defendants deliberately disguised the true destination of the link in the ad by displaying one version of an ad’s landing page to Facebook’s systems and a different version to Facebook users,” said Facebook’s Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation and Rob Leathern, Director of Product Management, Business Integrity.

Cloaking schemes are often sophisticated and well organised, making the individuals and organisations behind them difficult to identify and hold accountable.

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As a result, there have not been many legal actions of this kind.

“In this case, we have refunded victims whose accounts were used to run unauthorised ads and helped them to secure their accounts,” they wrote.

According to a report in CNET, Facebook said it has paid more than $4 million in reimbursements to victims of these hacks. (IANS)