Your Facebook posts now contribute to TV ratings

Your Facebook posts now contribute to TV ratings

January 25, 2016

How many times have you seen Making a Murderer talked about on social media? Probably a lot. This phenomenon isn’t unusual for popular shows, but does it have a real impact? Nielsen, a market research company that monitors what people watch and buy, wants to track social media posts to gauge interest in TV shows.

Actually, Nielsen has already tapped into social networks to determine what TV shows people are watching and talking about. For the past three years, the company tracked Twitter conversations to see what’s popular on TV. For example, according to The New York Times, the Republican Presidential Debate on January 14 was the subject of 1.2 million tweets. Although only 247,000 individuals wrote these tweets, they were seen by 6.4 million people.

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Twitter won’t be the only social media platform to be monitored for posts about TV shows anymore. Facebook and eventually Instagram will also be combed for any mention of TV shows. The information that Nielsen finds, including posts, shares, likes, and comments will be aggregated and incorporated into TV ratings known as Social Content Ratings.

Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen Social says, “Nielsen Social measurement is evolving to provide a comprehensive, standardized picture of how consumers are responding to program content through social media, wherever and whenever.”

What about my privacy?

Privacy is always a concern on social media, especially when it comes to personal thoughts. How do the Social Content Ratings factor into this? They don’t. If you post how much you love The Mindy Project, it will be noted for inclusion in these ratings, even if the post isn’t set to public. So be aware that Twitter and Facebook content is being monitored to see what TV shows deserve the highest ratings.

However, there are a few positive points to note in terms of your privacy rights.

  • First, Nielsen will not have access to what is being posted on Facebook. Instead, Re/code said Facebook wants to make it clear that “Nielsen itself won’t be looking directly at your postings — Facebook hoovers up the data and presents it to Nielsen, in aggregate form.”
  • Facebook also won’t be prying into your direct messages to friends and family. At least that’s a relief.

But the main point: If you want something to remain private, then you shouldn’t put it on Facebook.

What Facebook says

Maybe you think this is a massive invasion of privacy, or maybe this is something you have come to expect in the social media world. After all, it does make sense that how much a TV show is referred to on social platforms should have something to do with how it is rated.

The data Nielsen gathers can be used to market shows and develop new ones. Executives are looking forward to “the expanded social ratings to become even more integral to the industry.”

Facebook’s director of media partnerships put it this way, “Every day, television fans from around the world use Facebook to talk about the shows and stars they love with the people that matter most to them.” As a society that heavily values social media, it’s only fitting for these references on Facebook to weigh into TV ratings.


Nielsen Will Now Use Your Facebook Chatter for TV Ratings