This week during F8, Facebook’s annual global developer conference held in San Francisco, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a slew of new products and features in front of hundreds of delighted tech enthusiasts.
The keynote kicked off with a theme that resonates with challenges we face in the health industry—connectivity. In the United States, where nearly 9 out of 10 adults lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease, health communicators face the additional challenge of cutting through the clutter of often unreliable health information in the ever-changing digital space. Facebook’s 10-year plan to “Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone,” could prove fruitful in building a future where health messages can be personalized and easily accessible.
Among the array of new “toys” we can now play with, here are some that might be helpful for health communicators, along with some classic favorites:
Facebook has built in many features utilizing AI. Part of the AI’s features is that it can “read” photos to visually impaired people, an update that was rolled out in March. Zuckerberg said the technology is smart enough to analyze a photo of a mole to determine if it could be cancerous, if they wanted it to. They even have an entire team dedicated to accessibility, and you can learn all about their latest work on their dedicated Page: https://www.facebook.com/accessibility
Also powered by AI, developers can now build chat bots into Facebook Messenger. The feature allows developers to build chat bots that can communicate one on one with users in a conversational tone. The more the feature is used, the more personalized a bot can be in serving a user. Telemedicine startup HealthTap lets its users tap into a network of 100,000 doctors via chat. The bot makes patients feel comfortable by eliminating the face-to-face interaction typically experienced in the virtual visit setting.
Social Virtual Reality
Using Oculus VR equipment, Facebook will be making it possible to experience anything, anywhere through the power of virtual reality. The possibilities for health education and telemedicine using this technology are endless!
Quote Sharing lets you quickly and easily share a snippet of text from a post, article, or website directly and can be built into existing apps.
Facebook is opening up its API, making it easier to integrate the feature into other object—think integration into hospital robots, robotic surgery cameras, and more. This will be particularly good for marketing efforts, like hospital tours and equipment demonstrations.
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab announced two new ground-based systems for boosting Internet access.
The audience targeting feature isn’t new, but health communicators should leverage this tool more effectively. From the same Page, you can send a specific message to different areas, age groups, languages, and more. Only the demographic chosen will see the message!
With so many new tools to help deliver our messages and tell our stories, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. If you have tried something new and are loving it, we’d love to hear about it!