Curation hand blue
Credit: Image by Thinkstock
Some television news programmes and websites can now display Facebook conversations on a particular story or topic. A feed of public posts can be accessed by selected broadcasters and outlets.

Much in the same way as TV programmes and digital news sites show opinion on particular stories by displaying tweets, seven organisations are now able to display public Facebook posts.

Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC's Today Show, Sky TV, Slate, The Economist and Mass Relevance are launch partners and have access to the feed of posts.

And as millions of people use Facebook while watching TV – between 88 and 100 million in the US during the primetime hours of 8pm and 11pm according to an announcement post – broadcasters now have tools to include real-time reaction.

The new functionality comes after the launch of Facebook hashtags, which flag up particular topics, and lets news outlets see the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time.

News organisations also get anonymised data on the demographic breakdown, so can see the age, gender and location of those discussing the news story or topic.

The post from Facebook gives a couple of potential uses. "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.

"Mass Relevance, a technology company that enables social experiences, is also leveraging these new tools in interesting ways to highlight the trends and conversations happening on Facebook for their media clients."

The information is provided by Facebook via two tools. The 'public feed API' displays a real-time feed of public posts for a specific keyword. Only public posts from those people or brand pages with the 'follow' subscriber functionality turned on are included.

The 'keyword insights API' aggregates the total number of posts that mention a specific keyword in a given time frame. It can also provide anonymous results based on gender, age and location.

Facebook states that it plans to make the tools available to additional news outlets in the coming weeks.

Facebook, which rolled out embedded posts to all news outlets last month, said: "We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news."

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).