Facebook sent a cardiologist to several major U.S. hospitals to pitch a scheme that would combine a patient's medical file with user data collected by the beleaguered social media giant, in order to "figure out which patients might need special care or treatment," reports CNBC


The program, which "never progressed passed the planning phase" according to Facebook, was put on pause after the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal raised concerns over the company's policies governing data collection and use. 

Facebook's pitch, according to two people who heard it and one who is familiar with the project, was to combine what a health system knows about its patients (such as: person has heart disease, is age 50, takes 2 medications and made 3 trips to the hospital this year) with what Facebook knows (such as: user is age 50, married with 3 kids, English isn't a primary language, actively engages with the community by sending a lot of messages). -CNBC

Recently as last month, however, Facebook was discussing the program with several health organizations - including Stanford Medical School and American College of Cardiology.

The company says that the shared data would have personally identifiable information obscured - such as a patient's name, and that they were thinking of using a technique known as "hashing" to match an individual's medical data to their social media information. 

Facebook said on Wednesday that as many as 87 million users were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and that "most" of their 2.2 billion users were exposed to potential data scraping by "malicious actors." 

Building 8

The project to share medical-related data was led by Freddy Abnousi, an interventional cardiologist whose role is described on LinkedIn as "leading top-secret projects." The program operated out of Facebook's "Building 8," an experimental projects group headed by Regina Dugan prior to her October 2017 departure. 

The collaboration between Facebook and Hospitals would figure out if a user's combined information could improve patient care - for example, if an elderly patient doesn't have nearby close friends or much community support, the Facebook program might decide to send a nurse over to check in after a medical procedure. 

Of course, no word on whether this data would be then sold - perhaps to insurance companies, or whether Facebook would use patient data to better "microtarget" patients with relevant advertisements for pharmaceuticals used to treat various conditions. 

Cathleen Gates, interim CEO of the American College of Cardiology, explained the benefits of the plan in a quote provided by Facebook: 

"For the first time in history, people are sharing information about themselves online in ways that may help determine how to improve their health. As part of its mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health, the American College of Cardiology has been engaged in discussions with Facebook around the use of anonymized Facebook data, coupled with anonymized ACC data, to further scientific research on the ways social media can aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease—the #1 cause of death in the world. This partnership is in the very early phases as we work on both sides to ensure privacy, transparency and scientific rigor. No data has been shared between any parties."

Due to state and federal patient privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), health systems are notoriously cautious about sharing patient health information. 

The "hashing" technique Facebook reportedly proposed is a common cryptographic technique which could be used to match patient data to social media information - allowing the program to operate while obscuring personally identifiable information. 

That said, the issue of patient consent didn't come up in any of the early discussions of the program, reports an individual familiar with the program via CNBC - and Facebook has notoriously done research on users without their permission.

Notably, in 2014, Facebook manipulated hundreds of thousands of people's news feeds to study whether certain types of content made people happier or sadder. Facebook later apologized for the study.

Health policy experts say that this health initiative would be problematic if Facebook did not think through the privacy implications. -CNBC

"Consumers wouldn't have assumed their data would be used in this way," said Aneesh Chopra, president of a health software company specializing in patient data called CareJourney and the former White House chief technology officer.

"If Facebook moves ahead (with its plans), I would be wary of efforts that repurpose user data without explicit consent."

Facebook told CNBC the following about the program:

"The medical industry has long understood that there are general health benefits to having a close-knit circle of family and friends. But deeper research into this link is needed to help medical professionals develop specific treatment and intervention plans that take social connection into account."

"With this in mind, last year Facebook began discussions with leading medical institutions, including the American College of Cardiology and the Stanford University School of Medicine, to explore whether scientific research using anonymized Facebook data could help the medical community advance our understanding in this area. This work has not progressed past the planning phase, and we have not received, shared, or analyzed anyone's data."

"Last month we decided that we should pause these discussions so we can focus on other important work, including doing a better job of protecting people's data and being clearer with them about how that data is used in our products and services."

No word on whether Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has been involved in the program following the Facebook CEO's $75 million donation.

Views: 51

Latest Activity

Central Scrutinizer favorited James T. Kirk's video
36 minutes ago
MAC posted a discussion
1 hour ago
Central Scrutinizer favorited Dr. Frederick Meekins's blog post Producers Hint Batman May Never Return To Television
1 hour ago
Raz Putin replied to Central Scrutinizer's discussion Bought a Berkey!
1 hour ago
Raz Putin favorited Central Scrutinizer's discussion Bought a Berkey!
1 hour ago
Central Scrutinizer's discussion was featured

Bought a Berkey!

I had been saying it for 4 years, " I'm going to get a water purifier when I can afford one damn it"Well I finally ordered a…See More
1 hour ago
Raz Putin favorited Anti Everything's blog post Medical Industrial Corporations Will Kill You
1 hour ago
Raz Putin favorited Chris of the family Masters's blog post Template for Australians.
1 hour ago
Sweettina2 posted a video


KING OF VACCINES COMES CLEAN! The world's leading authority on vaccines details the use of aborted babies in vaccines while under oath. For the full episode:...
2 hours ago
Central Scrutinizer posted a discussion

Bought a Berkey!

I had been saying it for 4 years, " I'm going to get a water purifier when I can afford one damn it"Well I finally ordered a…See More
2 hours ago
Phyllis Maka's blog post was featured

Who Are 'They' really? These Scandalous Troublemakers! Want To Rule & Hog Every Leetle Thing In Sight, Every Where They Go!

Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney says every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for supporting the military superiority of Israel.…See More
2 hours ago
Dr. Frederick Meekins's blog post was featured

Producers Hint Batman May Never Return To Television

In the Gotham series finale, viewers were provided a glimpse of the time when the characters had developed into their forms most remember either from the comics or other media.However, according to a story posted at SyFyWire, there is a likelihood…See More
2 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters's blog post was featured

Consumer Reports Recommends Sunscreens That Seep Poison Into Your Bloodstream

Story at-a-glanceAll of the recommended products in Consumer Reports Best Sunscreens for 2019 report contain oxybenzoneA pilot study by the U.S. FDA shows four common active ingredients in sunscreen — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule…See More
2 hours ago
Raz Putin's blog post was featured

Breaking:"Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins released the transcripts of nine key figures from the House investigation into DOJ and FBI political activity."

Looks like there could be some worthwhile reading here folks let's hope. Breaking:"Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug…See More
2 hours ago
Raz Putin favorited Chris of the family Masters's photo
2 hours ago
Chris of the family Masters's 2 photos were featured
2 hours ago
Diana's 4 photos were featured
2 hours ago
Raz Putin favorited Chris of the family Masters's photo
2 hours ago
Raz Putin's 2 videos were featured
2 hours ago
MAC's video was featured

Creepy Joe Biden has a Very Serious Privilege Problem on His Hands

Now more then ever we need your help keeping this channel producing REAL content for REAL people https://www.paypal.me/ConservativeResurge Joe Biden's senior...
2 hours ago

Please remember this website is supported by your donations...

© 2019   Created by truth.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

content and site copyright 12160.info 2007-2015 - all rights reserved. unless otherwise noted