Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has announced the launch of a new tool called “Preventive Health” on its popular social media platform. The tool was developed with the input of the American Cancer Society; the American College of Cardiology; the American Heart Association; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will focus initially on the top two leading causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease and cancer. The tool is designed to amplify the messages of leading health organizations about appropriate preventive care and prompt users to get recommended health screenings.
Using the new tool is simple. Users can access it from their timeline or by typing “preventive health” into their search bar. After entering their gender and age, they will get a list of recommendations for preventive care along with things they need to know for each recommendation. Users can then set reminders to schedule future tests, mark when the tests are completed, and tell people in their social network about the tool.
Facebook said it’s put up strict safeguards to protect the privacy of people who use the new tool. Other users on Facebook will not be able to see when people use the feature and data from the tool will be accessible only to a subset of employees focused on keeping the feature functional. Advertisers will not be able to target ads to users based on the information they share using the tool.
The company wrote in a statement: “Health is particularly personal, so we took privacy and safety into account from the beginning. For example, Preventive Health allows you to set reminders for your future checkups and mark them as done, but it doesn’t provide us, or the health organizations we’re working with, access to your actual test results. Personal information about your activity in Preventive Health is not shared with third parties, such as health organizations or insurance companies, so it can’t be used for purposes like insurance eligibility.”