Facebook is making big changes to fight COVID-19 in your neighborhood
All social networks and technology firms are adapting to the Coronavirus health crisis.
My name is Dan Patterson and Facebook has recently released a brand new tool called Community help.
This is designed to help communities neighborhoods interact with.
It allows for neighbors to ask for assistance and other neighbors to provide that assistance.
It also allows neighborhoods to provide places, to donate money and other resources.
Fidji Simo is the head of Facebook app and her group oversaw development of this product.
[UNKNOWN], thank you very much for your time today.
I wonder if we could start with Community Help itself.
Let's dive in, tell me about what this product is and how it works.
Thanks for having me, Dan.
So community help is tool that we have launched a week ago to help people at a place where they can ask for help or offer the help.
And thanks to this more structured tool we are increasing the chances that people who need help are gonna find people We're offering some type of help.
So far we have some nurses asking for medical equipments.
We have some people offering to deliver groceries to the elderly.
We have seen people asking to volunteer at local organizations.
And we have even since the New York Blood Center asked for blood donations, I know that it allows for these features to exist, but walk me through the mechanics of how asking for assistance or help works in an area of say, 50 miles.
Yes, so you can simply go to Facebook Coronavirus Information Center inside your Facebook app or go straight to wwe.facebook.com /COVID support and that's where community help is.
When you get there,there's going to be a prompt for you to request help or offer help.
And we're going to ask you which location you want to offer help in so that for example, if you're only able to offer help Who's in your local neighborhood?
Let's say just a five mile radius.
You can specify that.
Is it possible that although the best intentions of the tour to help communities out we do need to still practice social distancing?
Is it possible that the tool could inadvertently spread Coronavirus So we've been very thoughtful about that.
And if you were to go right into community help and post an offer for help or asking for help is the first thing you would see is a very big Informational module with guidelines from the CDC or the WHO that explains how you can stay safe.
So we've really wanted to make sure that people really understand that even when they're asking for help, they still need to practice social distancing.
Another big problem that has affected all social networks, not just Facebook, but almost every social network is this propagation of misinformation and disinformation.
How are you tackling this within communities?
So that's an excellent question and something that we've been incredibly focused on since the very beginning of this crisis.
And so on misinformation, it's actually quite simple.
If we see a claim that has been debunked by a credible expert, mostly the CDC and so who we simply take it down, and the idea there is that anything that needs to imminent harm, like false cures or things like a claim, saying that social distancing doesn't work.
I'm just going to be taken down.
Within communities which are really exploding right now we see a lot of people joining local communities have communities of hopper on Coronavirus.
We've also gone one step further by letting members have access to trusted information so not just removing misinformation, but also showing some relevant information.
So If you go to one of these groups right now, you are going to see a pop up with a lot of information about how to stay safe from hostile authorities.
And today, we're actually launching two additional features.
Where we're partnering with leaders of this community to suggest to them content that they can share with our members is our live broadcast from the CDC who are local health organizations, or a learning modules that we have developed in partnership with the CDC that they can now share with the members of that community.
I wonder if you could walk us through what working with these third parties is like this is of course about more than just Facebook.
Facebook is the hub, but you work with the CDC and the who and third party fact checkers.
So take me through the process of conversations with those organizations to how that, those best practices show up in the community help feature on the Facebook app.
So we are in constant communication with these organizations, because as you can imagine, things are evolving incredibly fast.
So we���ve been fortunate that these organizations I've seen the power of a platform like ours to disseminate reliable and authoritative information.
So, we have people in this organization which are working very closely with us to develop these modules for example, so on the learning module.
He was really taking a lot of that advice and making sure that we could like really organize it kind of as a curriculum and put it into hands of community leaders so that they could walk their members through all of that really rich information.
Oftentimes, community members need help or need assistance.
But might not know how to verbalize the need for help.
And often, some of this help is mental or psychological.
We all need a place to vent.
Are you doing anything within the app to help not just physical services, But also mental health services.
So we've actually seen, within Community Hub, quite a lot of therapists offering their services for free to people who have mental health issues during this time, which has been really heartwarming.
We are thinking more about how we can support people with their mental health during this time, and we'll have to more announce in the coming weeks.
But in the Meantime What I can say is that so number one problems that people have right now with social isolation is loneliness.
And so have tools to basic products that allows you to feel part of a community with Facebook groups that allows you to place a video call to a friend is actually really critical right now to helping people feel less alone and feel.
Feel connected.>> And you know all of us are kind of figuring out how long this might last and how this might affect our communities and ourselves specifically, but take me into the future a little bit.
We don't know how long this will last but show me the evolution of Of community help in say, six weeks, six months and a year down the line.
So we think this is going to be a long lasting crisis even though it's gonna take different shapes.
So right now obviously we are still Seeing a lot of ask for help with very practical things related to social distancing, like the elderly, requesting grocery deliveries or nurses requesting medical equipment.
But as we head into a reopening of Society we are fully expecting that a lot of the hope that's going to be needed is going to have to be around the economic opportunities and economic impact of this crisis.
So that's why we are orienting community help.
Towards that, and I've allowed the presence of local fundraisers inside community help, and we are continuously doing more to help small businesses during this crisis.
An example of that was last week we announced that people could purchase gift cards from their favorite small businesses to support them during this time of need.
What are some of the problems you've encountered in working with communities and neighborhoods?
Look, these are all granular and they often have problems or at least the developing and rolling out an app in many of these communities might have problems that were unforeseen when you started.
So what are some of the biggest challenges that you've had?
So on communities a lot of how communities manifest on Facebook is through Facebook groups.
And as a singer that's incredibly important in a local community or in a Facebook group is actually a community leader which we call the group admin.
And we see that these people have enormous influence over our making Ensure that the community is healthy, that's dialogues that are happening in communities are how healthy and so we rely a lot on them to make sure that these communities are really dynamic, vibrant, and we give them a lot of tools to make sure that they can do that.
And to that end, how did you work to localize the app for all of the different cultures and communities not just in the United States but around the world?>> So, if you're talking about this particular crisis, we are working with organizations really across the world to make sure that the content that we add reflects to local Guidance that sales organization are wanting to give people.
So it's been partnerships that we've developed over the years of working together with this organization and are now really critical at this moment in time.>>Okay, so tell me how this is It's kind of broad but tell me how community help interacts with the other components of Facebook, not just Facebook as an entity, but with WhatsApp and Instagram.
And then also the broader technology community as a whole.
This is about an ecosystem, not just one application.
So community help is a product that's currently only available on the Facebook app.
However, this idea that we want to connect you to reliable information from trusted authorities and how people connect Is something that spans across all of our applications, so on instagram for example, we have done messages at the top of instagram to connect people to house resources, and on whatsApp, we have created a bot to connect people to answers about health so.
These are all like different approaches that we are taking to a common goal.
Which is really connecting people to reliable information.
Last question Figy.
It's been nice learning things from me, but I wonder if you could leave us with your personal reflection, your personal take.
Why do you care about this?
I understand it's your job but corona virus impacts us In very personal ways, so, tell me how you are personally connected to this product and to this project and to how Coronavirus is changing life Well, I think it's really affecting all of us and it's affecting us both at a global level and at the local level.
I see a lot of people in my local community, being elderly and being stuck at home and I want to do everything I can to help them at the same time my entire family's in front.
Since you've been on lockdown for a couple of weeks, and to me creating products that allow me to connect with my family so that I know that they're okay.
And make sure that the local community I grew up in is also finding resources to give resilience during this time has been really critical.
Like an example is that I have self sufficient Facebook group for my hometown in the south of France.
And every day they're doing live videos of people locally teaching other skills to pass the time while on quarantine.
And these are the types of things that warm my heart because I know that this is really meaningful for the local community.