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The New York Times, CNN, and others announced yesterday that a handful of online news organizations will be among the first to try out a new social search dashboard on Facebook, which allows brands and businesses to view demographics surrounding topics or specific keywords.
Slow Roll Out to 5 News Organizations
In addition to access device, age, and posts per minute on each topic, Facebook will also allow the searcher to view actual public posts by individual users and company pages. Much like Facebook’s gradual rollout of the now public post embed feature, this social search platform is only available currently to Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC News, Sky Television, and Slate.
The hope is that by building a scalable model, Facebook will eventually be able to make the tool public to all brands who are looking for a better way to engage with users on their platform.
Making Social Conversation a Competition
The New York Times speculates that Facebook’s move toward providing more analytics and data about the type of conversations taking place within their platform is a calculated move toward better competition with Twitter.
With Open Graph being rolled out to all users earlier this year, and now the testing of a Trending Topics section and clickable hashtags, Facebook has begun implementing some of the features that has made Twitter such a popular real-time tool for gauging the online public’s views on pop culture, news, and information as soon as they are posted.
However, businesses can expect some users to be upset about Facebook’s gradual move toward a more open network. While Twitter has always had user’s privacy settings set as public, thus causing most users to tweet knowing anyone could see it, Facebook has always been a place for many users to share photos and updates with their inner circle.
For users that don’t want their posts made searchable by open graph or this new social conversation dashboard, The Wall Street Journal has a great post about how to check and change privacy settings.