Facebook has launched a new app for iOS called Forecast which lets users pose questions regarding the future and vote on the questions of others.
“Forecast is a community for crowdsourced predictions built to harness the power of collective insights starting by furthering our knowledge of COVID-19 and its impact on the world,” said Facebook.
However, the questions posed so far range across a vast array of topics including politics, sports, economics, and entertainment.
Individuals are also able to explain their reasoning behind the forecasts they make.
The platform is currently invite-only, and is limited to specific experts, Facebook said.
“We’ll be approving users in batches, starting with members of the health, research, and academic community in the US and Canada,” said Facebook.
To join the community, users must request access to the Forecast Beta Testers Facebook group and download the app.
Users are then placed on a waiting list for access to the platform.
Purpose of Forecast uncertain
It is unclear at this point what the main goal of the Forecast platform is.
However, Facebook has been criticised heavily in recent years over the proliferation of fake news and misinformation on its platform.
A recent report by Bloomberg said that various major clothing brands are threatening to pull their advertising budget from Facebook in a coordinated attempt to force the company to crack down on hate speech and misinformation.
Facebook has tried to limit the proliferation of fake news recently by announcing it will be warning users that have shared or engaged with articles and links that contain false news about COVID-19.
It is possible that Forecast is another attempt to rectify the misinformation problem faced by Facebook, and this could explain why the platform is prioritising expert signups and offering the ability for users to explain their reasoning with evidence.