The Los Angeles Times reports starting in the fall, Facebook will track what TV shows users are watching on their smartphones or tablets, and then send their age and gender information to Nielsen. Once mobile users log into their Facebook apps, the social network will have the ability to secure data on what users are watching on their devices.
The Facebook-Nielsen partnership is part of a stepped-up campaign to get a better glimpse of how people are using computers and mobile devices for their entertainment. It also is intended to bring the art of audience measurement into the digital age. “The world is shifting radically, and so we had to evolve our measurement so that we could capture all of this fragmented viewing,” said Cheryl Idell, a Nielsen executive vice president.
The upcoming partnership has some privacy groups irked.
Julia Horwitz, a consumer protections counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, takes a tougher stand. “Consumers really are not aware of the extent to which Facebook is putting their non-Facebook activity to use,” she said. “Watching television and surfing the Internet shouldn’t necessarily involve Facebook.”
Nielsen partnered with Twitter in 2012 to track Twitter interactions around TV shows. Nielsen’s Twitter ratings have been a good source at analyzing social TV trends, along with TV shows’ popularity on social media.