Facebook dips into its sea of data to slake the media's thirst for information
Facebook's push to make its users' activities public continues today with the newly-announced Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API, both of which are meant to increase Facebook's utility to media organizations like BuzzFeed, Slate, and CNN.
The tools offer access to two types of data: A "real-time feed of public posts for a specific word" and "anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age and location."
Media companies now have more access to Facebook than ever before -- which is fitting, given the company's recent efforts to finally dissuade its users of the delusion that they can use the service without offering some kind of data to the organizations Facebook is constantly wooing.
Consider the service's social search tool, Graph Search, which allows users and marketers alike to find exactly who they're looking for. The tool, which is the closest private citizens will come to understanding how much information they share on the Web, makes it easier than ever to find people -- or consumers, depending on your perspective -- with data that was previously available only on their profile pages.
Or consider the introduction of hashtags, social media's most-used mark, in June. Besides introducing a system through which media companies and marketers could introduce their own, unique keywords, hashtags take disparate Status Updates and comments and create a cohesive public conversation.
Facebook said in August that the average Facebook user can encounter some 1,500 stories each day. It claimed, both in today's announcement and its introduction to hashtags, that between 88 million and 100 million US-based users sign on to the service between 8pm and 11pm, and millions discuss or interact with events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars.
That data has been resting on Facebook's servers for a while. Graph Search, newfound hashtags support, and today's APIs simply take that information from the relative obscurity of someone's profile page or Status Updates and make it available to knowledge-hungry media and marketing companies.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for PandoDaily]