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This Tuesday (23), Facebook is launching the Forecast application, for iOS, which will work as a platform to generate forecasts based on questions and answers based on users’ opinions, on certain subjects of general interest.

The app was being tested internally, with the participation of some employees, and it is this previously generated content that will serve as a basis for new users. Now, the app is being made available in the US and Canada, but for now, only invited users will be able to create questions and express opinions, since the platform is still in the testing phase. Other users will be able to view questions and comments, as well as share them on other platforms.

Watch the Forecast launch video:

Covid-19 is the initial focus

In this initial phase, Facebook will invite members of the health, research and academic communities to make predictions about the covid-19 pandemic and how it will impact society.

It is important to note that the app aims to create assumptions about a certain question launched on the platform, without the concern of considering answers based on scientific data. That is why the app is called “Forecast”, which means forecast in Portuguese.

Forecast vs. Fake News

Facebook did not disclose the real purpose of Forecast, but it is inevitable not to link predictions about serious matters (such as covid-19) with so-called fake news, especially at a time when the spread of false information and conspiracy theories became reason for police investigation in Brazil.

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Although Forecast forecasts work as an interesting thermometer, which can determine what people think, or expect, about a fact or event, it is feared that the wide sharing of this content will cause the information to be assimilated as true by inattentive social network users.

The company said the platform will have its own moderation guidelines, while also being expected to comply with Facebook community standards. Therefore, hate speech or questions involving content considered illegal by the platform will not be allowed.

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