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Facebook releases media tools to give broadcasters access to its data

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Looks like Facebook’s not done “borrowing” tools and features from other social networks. Not by a long way. Today the billion-user strong social platform today announced that it will be launching tools aimed at helping media organisations integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage of events.

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The move, suggests Facebook VP of Media Partnerships and Online Operations Justin Osofsky, is an evolution of the efforts it has made over the past few months to better surface Facebook conversations. “We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news,” he says.

According to Osofsky, the new features will allow news organisations to display “public posts of real-time activity about any given topic”.

According to Facebook, the media organisations it’s partnered with can also use these tools to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time, including a demographic breakdown for the people talking about that topic.

The tools work by using the public feed API to display a real-time feed of public posts for a specific word. Only public posts (from pages and profiles of those with ‘follow’ turned on) are available with this API. The keyword insights API meanwhile aggregates the total number of posts that mention a specific term in a given time frame. It can also display anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age and location.

If data released by the social network is to be believed then the new feature could work fairly well for the social network. It says that there are between 88 and 100-million people in the US logged on to Facebook between 8 and 11PM — the prime TV watching hours.

Facebook isn’t alone in chasing the attention of broadcasters. Late last year, Twitter announced a deal with ratings company Nielsen to provide a metric for gauging TV conversation reach on the social network. It followed that up with the February acquisition of Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics company.

The roll out of Facebook’s new product will start with a small group of media partners including Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, Sky TV, and Slate.

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