With the old system of Nielsen ratings no longer applicable in an age of streaming and downloadable TV, the audience tracking company is working with Facebook to identify demographics of viewers as they watch shows on their phones and tablets. The Los Angeles Times reports that starting this fall, Nielsen and Facebook will be combining forces, with Nielsen tracking show engagement in apps, then sending that data to Facebook, where it can be matched with age and sex data. NBC News contacted Facebook for more information but has not received a reply. (Nielsen reached out with some minor clarifications, however, which are reflected in the article.)
More details on the program are available from both Nielsen and Facebook. Nielsen assured NBC News that this information is carefully anonymized, so neither company ever sees a show attached to a name — but some may still find the idea creepy (you can opt out here). Facebook was criticized by both the public and academic community when it was revealed that a recent study had attempted to manipulate users' emotional states by fiddling with their news feeds.
- Facebook Manipulates Emotions: Business as Usual for Social Media Giant
- U.K. Regulators Investigate Facebook's Emotions Experiment
- Nielsen Will Start Counting Mobile TV Viewers
— Devin Coldewey, NBC News