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CNN among first with new Facebook data-sharing tools

Mass Relevance, a company that curates and provides social-media data for clients, is among a new wave of Facebook partners.

Story highlights

  • Facebook rolls out tool to help media outlets crunch its data
  • CNN among first few to access Public Feed API, Keywords Insight API
  • The tools can show how popular certain topics are on Facebook

CNN is among a handful of news outlets partnering with Facebook on a feature that will help share data about what users are talking about on the social network.

On Monday, the site rolled out two new tools. The first, Public Feed API, lets users display a real-time feed of public posts that contain a certain word. So, for example, it could be used to show how quickly new references to "Syria" were appearing on Facebook during coverage of the conflict there.

The other, Keyword Insights API, breaks down the number of posts that mention a term during a given time frame. So, in the previous example, it could show how many people had posted to Facebook about Syria in the past day, week or month.

Keyword Insights also lets users display anonymous results by gender, age and location. So, for example, it might show that 65% of chatter about Syria is coming from men, or that people talking about Miley Cyrus are overwhelmingly under age 34.

"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," Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice president for media partnerships and online operations, wrote in a blog post.

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The first wave of media partners is CNN, Buzzfeed, NBC's Today Show, BSkyB, Slate. and Mass Relevance.

Facebook says it has begun discussions with other media partners and marketing developers and will make the tools available to more partners in the coming weeks.

The partners are able to begin using the tools starting Monday.

In his post, Osofsky noted that, with more than 1 billion accounts, Facebook is a useful way to gauge how widely topics are resonating.

"If there is something interesting going on, people are talking about it on Facebook," he wrote. "From favorite television shows to sporting events to the latest news; the conversations are happening on Facebook. Last week's kick-off of the NFL season garnered over 20 million likes, comments, and shares on Facebook by over 8 million people."