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Facebook halts patient data plan

Facebook has scrapped plans to collect patient data from hospitals and match it with its users' personal information.

The under-pressure social networking website has previously dicussed the idea, but amid its ongoing privacy crisis, Facebook has decided to put the plan on hold.

The controversial idea was uncovered by CNBC reporter Christina Farr, who had been told that Facebook had already approached hospitals and health organisations.

Cathleen Gates, from the American College of Cardiology, told the broadcaster that it had been engaged in discussions with Facebook about the concept of using anonymised data to improve research.

However, Facebook has insisted that the talks had "not progressed past the planning phase", adding that it had not "received, shared or analysed anyone's data".

The statement continued: "Last month, we decided that we should pause these discussions so we can focus on other important work, including doing a better job of protecting people's data."

This comes shortly after an official representing the United Nations claimed Facebook has been turned into a "beast".

The social networking site came under fire from one of the team investigating allegations of genocide in Myanmar, who says Facebook has played a "determining role" in stirring up anger against Rohingya Muslims in the Asian country.

Marzuki Darusman, the chairman of the UN's Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar, said social media platforms like Facebook had "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony" towards Rohingya Muslims.

He continued: "Hate speech is certainly, of course, a part of that.

"As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook and Facebook is social media."

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