Facebook isn’t exactly known for balanced conversations or reliable information, but that’s not stopping it from launching Forecast, a “community for crowdsourced predictions and collective insights.” Forecast will let users ask questions and predict the outcomes. For instance, who will win the 2020 election? Or, will we have a COVID-19 vaccine anytime soon?
Users will be able to browse popular topics and make and share their own predictions. Forecasts will be trackable over time and shareable on other platforms.
“As we’ve learned in our initial testing, when people take time to explain how they arrived at their forecasts, it appears to encourage measured, respectful conversation,” Facebook wrote in a statement.
Though, for a platform riddled with misinformation, there’s reason to be skeptical. It doesn’t help that the predictions boil down to a binary choice, and there’s speculation that the predictions could reinforce existing beliefs or influence real-world outcomes.
Facebook launched a beta version of Forecast in June, so it has done some testing. It says all content must abide by its moderation guidelines, meaning all questions will need to be approved before they are published. Time will tell if those safeguards are effective.
People in the US and Canada can visit the Forecast website beginning today. Forecast is also available as an iOS app.
10/1/2020 12:25PM ET: The headline was updated to call this a predictions app, rather than a polling app.