Facebook stops its plan to collect medical records to match users
Facebook has halted plans to access medical data to try and match it to its users' information in order to improve their care.
The social network had to shelve the plan after the data theft scandal involving Cambridge Analytica which saw the company come under fire over how it handles client data.
Facebook was clear that it had not received any patient records yet.
Its plans were uncovered by a CNBC reporter who found out Facebook had already gotten in contact with medical schools in the US. Cathleen Gates from the American College of Cardiology told the broadcaster that they had been in talks with Facebook concerning anonymised data.
However, according to CNBC the plan involved accessing medical records and then trying to match them to Facebook users, in the belief that the additional information could improve patient care in hospitals.
It could aid doctors find out if the patient did not speak English or reveal that the patient did not have friends or family and needed extra help.
Legally, such a scheme would fall into a grey area.
Health systems are very cautious about sharing patient information because state and federal law are designed to protect people and their most sensitive information.
In fact, it is illegal for a hospital to share such information without patient consent.