In partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland, we invite people on Facebook to participate in surveys that ask about how they are feeling, including any COVID-19 symptoms they or members of their household have experienced, and about their risk factors for contracting COVID-19. The surveys are designed to provide valuable information to help monitor and forecast how COVID-19 may be spreading, without trading off the privacy of survey respondents. Over a million people responded to the surveys within the first two weeks.
About the surveys
The surveys conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland ask people to report symptoms associated with COVID-19 or the flu that they or members of their household have experienced in the last 24 hours. Public health research surveys like this have been conducted globally, and used to forecast the spread of the flu and other illnesses in the past.
Who’s taking the surveys
Facebook reaches large segments of the population allowing for a significant representation of age, gender and location. Every day, a new sample of Facebook users over 18 years old are invited to participate in a survey. Users in the United States take a survey conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, and users outside of the United States take a survey conducted by the University of Maryland. Facebook does not receive, collect or store individual survey responses. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland do not learn who took the surveys.
Adjusting for sample bias
Facebook shares a single statistic, known as a weight value, to correct for survey sample bias. The weight value does not identify the survey respondent. Adjusting for sample bias with weight values ensures that the sample more accurately reflects the characteristics of the population represented. The weight value for a person can be thought of as the number of people in the adult population that they represent, based on their age, gender and location. We do not show any data for countries that do not reflect sample bias adjustments.
Using the survey data
The survey data can help policymakers and researchers forecast COVID-19 outbreaks and respond to the pandemic in their communities. Facebook’s research partners are committed to only using symptom survey results to study and help contain COVID-19. Learn more
about requesting access to survey data as an academic or nonprofit researcher.
Writing about the survey? Download
our free messaging guide for details about referencing our data, survey hosts and more.