Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Facebook will now remind you to get health checkups (if you want)

October 29, 2019
Facebook's Preventative Health app
Facebook's Preventative Health app
Facebook's Preventative Health appFacebook

The news: Facebook has launched a new preventive health tool that lets US users opt in for reminders to get health checkups, vaccines, and cancer screenings. The initial focus is on heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death in the US, plus flu. Facebook plans to expand the range of illnesses, and countries, covered. It has partnered with several US health organizations for the launch.

How it will work: People can search for Preventive Health in Facebook’s mobile app to find out which checkups are recommended by the partner organizations, based on that person’s age and sex. For example, women aged 45 to 55 are recommended to get a mammogram every year. Reminders for flu shots will pop up at the appropriate time of the year. Users can use the tool to set reminders for tests, and mark when they are completed.

Some background: This isn’t Facebook’s first foray into health: it has a feature that helps people sign up as blood donors which has been used by more than 50 million people so far, it said. The difference here is the focus on preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

But, but: While the cause is worthy, it involves the most private data being collected by Facebook, a company that has repeatedly been hit by data privacy scandals over the last year. The company says it has introduced extra safeguards for data entered into the app, and won’t show ads based on the data that users provide. However, Facebook is relying on enough people to take it at its word at a time when trust in the company is at rock bottom, especially in the US.

Sign up here for our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.