Facebook launches yet another new application: Forecast. With it, it's not about a new social network or a new way to communicate, but about predicting the future. The concept is intriguing, but don't worry, Facebook hasn't become a fortune-teller.
Forecast, developed by Facebook's epic NPE, wants to make predictions based on consensus. In effect, users are asked multiple-choice questions about current events in order to infer trends. In this time of health crisis, Forecast is particularly interested in coronavirus.
By answering the questions, participants can create discussions to explore the topic in greater depth and share articles about it. For example, on the estimated date of commercialization of a future vaccine against COVID-19. They can also propose their own questions to the moderators of the app.
The app is currently only open to health professionals and some academics by invitation only. However, the aim here is not to prove a hypothesis scientifically, but to select the most "popular" answer.
Still limited access
Currently, Forecast is only available in the United States and Canada, on iOS to a very limited and select audience. In contrast, predictions about coronavirus based on the responses of privileged participants are public and available on the Forecast site.
Mark Zuckerberg's company presents its new app as a simple opinion research tool, but one may still wonder what interest the giant Facebook has in offering such a tool. The American company has recently been the target of numerous criticisms regarding its management of the propagation of fake news on its platforms concerning Covid-19. Proposing an application that relies on people's assumptions and opinions is not necessarily the best idea nor the best time.
As a creation of Facebook's NPE research and development team, Forecast could be offered to only a small number of users and even close its doors within a few weeks. It all depends on how successful it will be among users, but also on their return.