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Facebook, challenging Twitter, makes new bid for public conversation

September 09, 2013|By Jessica Guynn
  • Facebook is introducing new search tools as part of an effort to challenge Twitter's dominance in public online conversations.
Facebook is introducing new search tools as part of an effort to challenge… (Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty…)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook is turning up its efforts to challenge Twitter and take part in the public conversation online, particularly about major news events, television shows and sports.

The giant social network released two new search tools Monday. One lets news organizations use keywords to search Facebook for public posts. The other allows searches of private Facebook posts that yield anonymous data such as the location, gender and age.

Starting Monday, Facebook is letting a few news organizations integrate Facebook conversations into their coverage. Those organizations will also be able to show the number of Facebook posts that mention a specific word over time, including a demographic breakdown of the chatter.

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It's just the latest bid to capture what people are talking about on Facebook. (Check out our coverage of Facebook's Olympics bid from August 2012 for more.)

Twitter continues to rules as the go-to place to gab about just about anything on the Web, but Facebook is using its girth -- its nearly 1.2 billion users -- to make a bigger splash.

Facebook recently introduced embedded posts, which let users include public Facebook posts anywhere on the Web.

Facebook is also testing a feature that would show the most popular subjects, called “trending topics.”

In June, Facebook gave users the ability to search posts with hashtags, the same way they do on Twitter.


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