Facebook has launched two new tools - Keyword Insights API and Public Feed API - that will be offered to a small group of trusted media partners including Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC's Today Show, BSkyB, Slate and Mass Relevance, with an intent to track conversations related to trending topics, hashtags, and embedded posts.
Detailing the tools on a blog post, Facebook said, "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."
The tools will essentially provide media organisations the ability to integrate Facebook conversations into broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about a given topic.
Media partners will also be able to use the tools to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time, complete with a demographic breakdown of the people talking about that topic, making Facebook a source for data. It would allow broadcasters and advertisers to target a particular set of viewers.
It's worth pointing out that the Public Feed API will display a real-time feed of only public posts for a specific word. The API would fetch only public posts from Pages and Profiles of users with 'Follow' turned on, ensuring privacy of users.
The Keyword Insights API on the other hand 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, according to Facebook. Again, as the data is anonymised, Facebook is evidently trying to address privacy concerns.
Following the move, Facebook would also be able to take on Twitter, which is increasingly becoming a popular platform for broadcasters to interact with audiences. Also, demographic details are easily obtainable as more people share their personal details on Facebook than on Twitter.