Facebook is not in talks with the US government about sharing users’ smartphone location data to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
The system described by the Post would potentially use aggregated, anonymized data provided by tech companies to determine how likely it is that the disease will spread between different regions in the US, Business Insider reported.
While Zuckerberg said Facebook is not part of the specific conversation around sharing users’ location data with the government, the company does have a tool meant to help track the movements and demographics of people affected by a disease outbreak.
According to Business Insider, as the US scrambles to fight the coronavirus pandemic that has killed roughly 8,000 people worldwide, the government appears to be taking a page from other countries like China, South Korea, and Israel which have implemented similarly as well as more aggressive surveillance measures. Some of these measures have raised privacy concerns.
A task force that includes Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon held a meeting with White House officials on Sunday to discuss ways to help it combat the virus, according to the Wall Street Journal. On Tuesday, Facebook also said it’s working with other major social media companies and government health agencies to reduce the spread of misinformation.