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Facebook tramples Twitter's turf with media-friendly tracking

Expect lots of 'what's trending on Facebook' fluff

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Facebook is adding a couple of APIs that will let certain media organizations track what's trending on the social network.

Certain media partners, such as Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC's Today Show, BSkyB, and Slate (as well as social media marketing firm Mass Relevance) will be getting access to a Public Feed API that allows them to see a real-time feed of what Facebook users with public posts are saying about certain keywords, such as "Syria" or "Apple".

A second API, Keyword Insights, gives media users aggregated results of the frequency of keywords being used in public posts, and allows these to be broken down further based on gender, age, and location, while keeping the identity of the poster anonymous.

"Starting today, selected news organizations can begin to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic," said Justin Osofsky, VP of media partnerships at Facebook, in a blog post.

Osofsky said that in the past year, Facebook users have mentioned the Superbowl 245 million times in public posts, making it the most commented on topic. Second was the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals, which garnered 125 million mentions, with this year's Academy Awards ceremony in third with 66.5 million public postings.

Currently, Twitter gets a lot of media attention, such as the Today Show's "What's Trending" segment, and Facebook wants to be part of that as well. The new APIs will also help the social network generate data that can be used by its advertising sales team to bring in the lucre.

Facebook has been making more of an effort in this field to try and get more eye-time online. Last month the firm gave a similarly select group of media the ability to embed posts in their websites, and since June it's been supporting hashtags as well.

Whether all this increased visibility will help the bottom line remains to be seen, but Zuckerberg and his crew certainly hope so. ®

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