Facebook Preventive Health Tool now includes more privacy features

by October 29, 2019 0 comments

Social media giant Facebook created a Preventive Health tool to allow you to connect to health resources and check-up reminders. And since this health data gathered is particularly personal, Facebook today announced a few extra steps to help you protect your privacy and collect a limited amount of information necessary to make the tool function and improve it over time.

Who sees my information and activity?

Facebook says it won’t post any of your activity within Preventive Health publicly or share it with others. The information provided by you is securely stored and access is restricted to a group of people at Facebook who work on the product. No personal information about your activity in Preventive Health will be shared with third parties, such as health organizations or insurance companies, so it can’t be used for purposes like insurance eligibility.

What choices and controls do I have?

Giving more controls to you, you can now decide whether you want to use the Preventive Health tool. The tool will also give you options to set reminders for your future check-ups and mark them as done, but it will not give us access to your actual test results. You can also share the tool with your friends or family via Messenger or News Feed to encourage them to try it, keep in mind that doing so won’t share your activity within the tool.

On the other hand, if you have turned on Location Services, Facebook would use your location information to show you Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in your area. If no FQHCs are found, Facebook will default to showing a location based on your current city. However, you can control whether your device shares location information with Facebook Products via Location Services, a setting on your mobile device.

How do this impact data collection and the ads I see?

Keep in mind that the Preventive Health uses your age and sex to suggest check-ups recommended by health organizations. Your age and sex data is gathered based on your Facebook profile by default, but you can also change these in the Preventive Health tool.

Facebook says to help you keep track of your check-ups, the company collects the information you provide, such as when you set reminders or mark a screening as done. It also tracks general activity, like frequency of clicks for a specific button, which allows us to understand how the tool is being used, in order to improve it over time.

However, Facebook doesn’t show ads based on the information you provide in Preventive Health — that includes things like setting a reminder for a test, marking it as done or searching for a healthcare location.

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