This morning Facebook announced “a new version of the Share button with a live counter, and opened up the analytics associated with sharing on Facebook so that developers can measure engagement and view the number of shares, likes, and comments made on content.” This is a massive announcement from Facebook as it will open up a whole new set of opportunities for developers focused on aggregating social content from around the web.
This share button will help people track what the most popular content from around the web is. By adding the new Facebook share widget, Facebook will be able to focus becoming a source of information from around the web. A number of companies have already developed their own Facebook share widgets, however this new version developed by Facebook will help replace existing share widgets for Twitter and other sources.
Also included in this new release is the Links.getStats API call which will enabled developers to find the number of times URLs from around the web have been shared. Opening up this data set paves the way for Facebook content aggregators from around the web. I’ve discussed this concept heavily over the past few months but it’s amazing to see Facebook finally open up this data.
Most incredible is that this data is accessible without an API key. You can use the rest server to find out how many times a URL has been shared. For example, by visiting the url http://api.facebook.com/restserver.php?method=links.getStats&urls=www.allfacebook.com you can find out that AllFacebook has been shared 266 times so far. You can also find out how many comments, clicks, and likes have taken place for each URL.
Making Information Publicly Available
This is a massive announcement from Facebook as it will permanently transform the way that information is aggregated around the web. Not only will news aggregators benefit from this announcement but search engines will also benefit as they can find out how “socially relevant” various sites are. According to Facebook, Techmeme, bit.ly, and awe.sm are already using this data to expand their analytics service.
Statistics about URLs just started getting counted so expect URL counts to start low. We’ll be posting updates later about this as we get more information about the new service and have time to play with it.