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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Review those privacy settings — Facebook starting to track #trends

On Monday, Facebook rolled out two new interfaces that will make the social media platform more public. By collecting valuable feedback, it’s becoming more like Twitter, some locals say.

The application programming interfaces (APIs) pull content from users who have publicly posted information, and it may incorporate that information into a public news feed.

The interfaces allow major media networks such as Buzzfeed, CNN and NBC’s “Today” show access to find and broadcast real-time talk about a given topic.

These networks can see the demographic breakdown — including the age and gender — of who’s buzzing about what on Facebook.

Bruce Floyd, UF’s social media specialist, said he’s excited about the APIs.

“It won’t change us,” he said. “It will affect companies by giving them access to what people are talking about. They can measure sentiment, cut out stuff people don’t like and keep the good content.”

He said it can also gather valuable information about public opinion, and he said Facebook implementing the platform makes sense because it’s where many people post declarations about trending topics.

Austin Wynn, a 19-year-old UF microbiology and cell science freshman, said he doesn’t like the idea of Facebook being scoured for media chatter.

“If media networks want instant feedback on their show or music, they should search a hashtag on Twitter,” Wynn said. “Facebook should stay as a place to keep in touch with friends.”

Lakirra Turner, a 19-year-old UF East Asian languages and literature junior, agreed. She said media networks shouldn’t be allowed to search through Facebook because that’s not the purpose of that social media platform.

“I like Facebook more subdued,” she said. “Twitter is the hot spot for gossip and trends.”

A version of this story ran on page 3 on 9/12/2013 under the headline "Review those privacy settings — Facebook starting to track #trends"

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