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Facebook, Nielsen will soon track your TV habits on tablets, smartphones

Updated: Jul 16, 2014 03:29 PM
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By Mike Flacy
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Attempting to get a better grasp on how many television shows consumers are watching on mobile devices, the Nielsen company is partnering up with Facebook in order to track television viewing habits of U.S. consumers. According to representatives of the social network, if you have logged into Facebook on a mobile device, Facebook has the ability to pull data about what the user is watching on the device assuming the user hasn’t specially opted out of tracking. Detailed by the Los Angeles Times, the tracking collaboration should kick off as the Fall 2014 television season goes into full swing.

While privacy advocates aren’t thrilled at this collaboration, the two companies are keeping the data anonymous be using a double-blind study. Basically, Nielsen assigns numbers to the names of television shows and supplies those to Facebook. Facebook isn’t aware of which numbers correspond to which shows. In return, Facebook returns an aggregate of the age and gender of all Facebook users that watched a specific television show. Beyond that, there’s no specific identifying information that’s provided by Facebook and the study won’t influence any type of online advertising that’s displayed within the Facebook feed.

Speaking about the partnership, a Facebook representative said “We have worked with Nielsen under strong privacy principles. We don’t believe that audience measurement systems should be used to adjust targeting; they should only be used for measurement. This protects the privacy of people viewing ads and ensures that both advertisers and publishers have the same information about the audiences.”

Assuming the data collection process is successful, Nielsen will have a much better grasp of which shows are being consumed on tablets and smartphones as well as when those shows are consumed. Using this data, advertisers will be able to better target the age and gender of the majority of mobile watchers when commercials are presented at breaks within an episode.

This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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