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Facebook Gives News Outlets Access to the Public Data Stream

facebook highlightsThe next time you watch the news on CNN, the Facebook comments you see could be your own. As of this morning, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, Slate, Buzzfeed and BSkyB were all granted access to Facebook’s Public Feed API and the Keyword Insights API.

The Public Feed API allows the news outlet to see, and presumably air, all public Facebook posts related to a keyword. The Keyword Insights API takes all of those mentions, likes and shares and returns the totals by day, location, gender, age, etc. For example, 19 million people mentioned the UFO over Kentucky. 10 million were men over 35 and half were located outside of the US.

That’s a huge potential data pool that could be used to gauge the country’s interest in everything from the latest movie to a candidate for president.

The keyword data is a no-brainer. It’s a collection of anonymous numbers so privacy isn’t an issue. The Public Feed is another story. The way I’m reading this, The Today Show can pull any public Facebook post or comment and use it on the air. There’s nothing that says they can’t show a person’s full name or that they need permission.

Public or not, Norm Al Man from Michigan might not want the entire country to know that he enjoyed Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s.

Yes, we all could have found that post using a hashtag search. And we could have embedded that post on our news sites and blogs thanks to all of the new sharing tools – but airing comments on national TV feels like a big leap. Maybe because Facebook feels more “personal.”

Look at Twitter. TV shows and newsrooms have been using Twitter Tweets as content for awhile now. You’ll see tons of Tweets pop up on the news during a major event like a natural disaster. Connecting with people through social media allows them to cover more ground faster than they can with their own boots on the ground.

Twitter is also an integral part of several current TV shows. Syfy’s Face-Off collects Tweets during the first run of the episode then, in the next hour, runs a “tweet-peat” — a repeat of the episode with an overlay of the best Tweets. That’s as close as you’re going to get to real time social media integration.

The CW’s America’s Next Top Model now uses social media scores to help decide the winners and losers each week. They also read social media posts during judging and allow fans to comment via webcam.

It works – for Twitter.

Will it work for Facebook? Or will people see this as an invasion of privacy and cry foul?

What do you think? Are you okay with CNN scooping your posts to annotate the news?

 

  • http://pavelnovel.com/ Pavel Konoplenko

    Facebook with another classic case of Twitter Envy. Facebook feels more private because it was born to be private, it was created with an air of exclusivity. Trying to shed that now to get real-time conversation feels off because that isn’t their strength. It’s wholly more fitting for Twitter.