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Speculation 2022: Hey, It Could Happen…

If you really think about it, Facebook entering the health care industry is not that far reaching.

January 21, 2022

This may be the year Facebook, excuse me, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB), finally enters the health care industry.

If you think about it, it is somewhat surprising that it hasn’t already. It has billions of users around the world who openly share their personal information, including about how they’re feeling, whether or not they’ve been vaccinated, how much they’ve aged in the last 10 years, and pretty much any ailment for which they solicit advice from their collective “hive mind.”

It already uses the information it collects about people to fuel its advertising engine, allowing companies to selectively advertise to Facebook users by their demographics and interests. Imagine if Facebook started to use this information to identify epidemiological health trends, such as the spread of a respiratory illness or young people in their 30’s developing a particular type of cancer. Many people are already sharing this critical, and potentially useful, information. Facebook’s data scientist could analyze and mine it for useful information that it could then sell to the pharmaceutical industry for a purpose more beneficial than merely advertising.

Rather than just taking our data, however, Facebook also has the opportunity to provide. Its Oculus and VR/AR applications could become digital therapeutics. Imagine using VR to lower your blood pressure or relieve the pain of a migraine or an AR fitness program that helps you get in shape and lose weight. These applications are not limited to the realm of science fiction as many startups are already making progress in this space. Facebook has the hardware, developers, and extensive user base to make this a reality, should it choose.

The shift to Meta allows Facebook to provide a space for its users to socialize and live their best, even if only imagined, version of themselves. It seems fitting, then, for the company to use the knowledge we share with it to actually help us live as our healthiest selves both inside and outside of the metaverse.

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