Facebook launches new service enabling media to easily use public posts and data

Following the rollout of a series of new Facebook features including hashtags, embedded posts and trending topics, the company has announced that selected news organisations will now be able to display public Facebook posts that mention any given topic, in real-time.

The moves seem to be a an effort to contend with Twitter as the go to place for media organisations to gauge public opinion and get quotes on events and current affairs. The hashtags, embedded posts and trending topics features which have been released over the past few months are all very similar to functionality that Twitter has long offered.

Facebook uses the example of CNN's New Day programme now being able to "easily incorporate what people on Facebook have to say about the latest, breaking news event during their show".

First of all, the release is being made available to a small group of media organisations including Buzzfeed, BSkyB, CNN, and NBC's Today Show.

These partners can use the new tools to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over a period of time, including a demographic breakdown for the people talking about that topic.

"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," the company explains.

Facebook does however have the problem that due to its privacy policy, and the perception of many users that their wall is not a public space, only post that users have made public or posted on a public wall can be utilised. Conversely, the vast majority of Twitter users have their feed open to all.