When will we get a COVID-19 vaccine? Be Alf get a modern reset? Facebook wants to answer these questions, or at least make some assumptions. The company’s new iOS app, Forecast, allows experts to make predictions and then see if they turn out to be accurate. Those experts, who are only invited at the moment, can give an answer and explain their reasoning. The public can vote on which predictions they believe are most likely to come true. It is not clear if this application is understood as some form of practical guidance.
According to Facebook, Forecast’s first initiative begins today, with health researchers and academics predicting the impacts and outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic. The problem arises when people vote on the answers, as the process comes down to a binary choice. This feels simultaneously troubling and perfect for Facebook. The platform is a frequent host of misinformation, and speculation about serious health issues could only reinforce certain beliefs. With that said, it seems that current users can post questions and predictions on any topic as well. Scrolling across platforms reveals more questions, from politics to Tiger king.