Last week's kick-off of the NFL season garnered more than 20 million likes, comments, and shares on Facebook by more eight million people, as Peyton Manning went on to throw a near-perfect game with a record-setting seven touchdown passes. Now, the company wants to harness that kind of engagement by giving news organisations the ability to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic.
For example, CNN's New Day can now easily incorporate what people on Facebook have to say about the latest breaking news event during the show.
"If there is something interesting going on, people are talking about it on Facebook," said Justin Osofsky, vice president of media partnerships and online operations at the social network. "From favourite television shows to sporting events to the latest news; the conversations are happening on Facebook."
The new tools allow select partners — including Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC's Today Show, BSkyB and Slate — to use the 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.
For instance, now every week during the 'What's Trending' segment of The Today Show, NBC can easily include how many people on Facebook talked about a popular subject, where it's getting the most buzz, whether it's most popular among males or females, and with which age groups.
The tools are officially dubbed the Keyword Insights API and the Public Feed API. The Keyword Insights API 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. The Public Feed API displays 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.
Accessibility is limited to a handful of partners for now, but Facebook plans to make it more widely available as time goes on.