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Facebook is telling TV networks how many people chat about their shows

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Facebook Nasdaq NYC Stock
Facebook Nasdaq NYC Stock

Facebook is trying to prove to major television networks that it's home to the best viewership data around — or at the very least, viewership data that's better than Twitter's. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is beginning to deliver reports to ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, and a small number of other partners about the level of activity their shows are seeing across its entire network, both public and private. The reports will be delivered weekly, and will include aggregated details on how many likes, comments, and shares occur around a given TV episode.

A battle for the best data

Though Facebook will be including data based off of private activities, it's said to all be anonymized, with the final metric simply being a measurement of how many total social interactions have occurred. One example given by the Journal is that a recent episode of Dancing With the Stars received 1 million interactions from 750 thousand people.

While Twitter has been the go-to social network for measuring real-time engagement for a while now, Facebook is seemingly hoping that these reports can help to prove its worth. It's been working on opening up more data to television networks of late, including granting some networks access to a searchable firehose of public posts. By anonymously counting private interactions, Facebook will be able to start tapping into the breadth of its network, much of which isn't public and accessibly like on Twitter.

Naturally, Facebook thinks it has better overall data. "The conversation is being generated by a group that is much more representative of the general population," Daniel Slotwiner, the head of Facebook's TV metrics team, tells the Journal, "That means we should have a better signal as it relates to ratings." If Facebook can prove itself to major television networks, it could help the network evolve into the hottest place to be during real-time events — and for Facebook, that might result in the type of big advertising dollars its been seeking.