A while back, Facebook announced Facebook Signal, which is a tool for helping people, and especially journalists to track relevant trends and viral posts on both Facebook and Instagram. Twitter should be worried about this latest development.
Twitter has its own niche where people use it to be kept abreast with what is happening in the world. Breaking news works very well on Twitter because it is easily found by going to the specific account for following the hashtag or checking out your timeline if the tweet has been retweeted to your timeline. Speaking of the hashtag, Twitter made it mainstream in 2009, Facebook had to announce it in 2013 way after Instagram and Twitter. But in Facebook however, you can only use hashtags to look for a specific event or use it in your posts. This has changed with Facebook Signal
From the layout, they have added a column on the left that enables a journalist to discover what is trending, do comparisons between terms and Facebook and Instagram search integration. This will enable one to track the topics that are trending and display the content in chronological order from people and pages, all very handy to a journalist
When it comes to leader-boards however, this is where a journalist can be able to track who is driving the most traffic in a conversation. This is helpful for a journalist to be able to track the specific party that has the most influence in a certain conversation and ask for their opinion.
Another useful tool in Facebook Signal is Curate where a journalist can be able to create custom collections from the posts, images or video found on Facebook and Instagram. This can be later downloaded and integrated with the usual graphics that are loaded in a typical broadcast.
Embedding is not new in Facebook and it is used widely to embed content found on Facebook to another website. In this case however, the content they curate can be fed directly on a journalist’s website thanks to the APIs Facebook released.
Meanwhile on Twitter, the top trends worldwide and in your location are part of the experience and it helps you know what people are currently talking about. On clicking on a particular hashtag, the information is organized as top (ones that have the highest engagement) , Live (the current stream of tweets), News, Photos ,Videos and a more options tab that helps you customize the search experience.
As a journalist, you may prefer Facebook Signal over Twitter because:
1. Facebook is able to compare trends better by ranking in descending order the people or brands that are driving a certain conversation in terms of influence
2. The saving feature is better than on Twitter because your curated content (photos, videos and posts gathered on Facebook) can be later be downloaded later so as to be integrated in a news bulletin.
3. It gives a journalist an opportunity to gather information in a better way from Facebook and Instagram, which was a hustle before.
4. Facebook has a large audience and being able to search what is trending and who are the major influencers of a certain topic is gold for a journalist who is researching on a certain topic.
5. The curated content can be feeded directly on a journalist’s website which is convenient
Facebook wants to be a journalist’s only source for news from this move and leveraging on its huge user base, journalists will sign up to use the tool. Also for users, it wants to be the only source for news and for publishers to post their content on Facebook thanks to their Instant Articles platform. After all Facebook Signal is free. Sadly as of now, they are only focusing on the US market and journalists in other markets will have to wait for the feature to be rolled worldwide.