Concerns Arise Over Possible Facebook Health Data Collection

from tHEORetically Speaking: The HealthEconomics.Com Blog at http://bit.ly/2IZxda3 on May 30, 2018 at 05:19PM

Analysts and members of Facebook health and support groups are concerned that the social media giant could use members’ private information for commercial purposes, according to a recent Huffington Post article.

News broke earlier this year that Facebook may have violated the privacy of its users, prompting the #deleteFacebook campaign. That campaign could have been met with moderate success. According to the article, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said usage had declined about 5 percent before the campaign began. However, usage is still up overall. Recent data suggest that membership is up about 13 percent from last year.

But privacy concerns remain, particularly among administrators of Facebook groups. Some are changing groups to “closed” to keep information and sensitive posts limited to group members only. And while Facebook has said it does not share users’ posts and comments from closed groups, concerns remain about collection of data, particularly among health groups.

Recently, information surfaced that Facebook had approached several U.S. health organizations about sharing anonymized patient data on illness and prescriptions to match it with data it collected, according to the Huffington Post.

Facebook said no such data have been collected, and work had not gone beyond initial planning stages. Analysts worry about such information being used for commercial purposes.

“Imagine what kind of connections future data miners could make based on your social media posts, fitness trackers, voting record, purchasing history and perhaps even genetic data,” the article states.

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