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Facebook, Nielsen to track TV habits on tablets, smartphones

July 17, 2014

Historically, Nielsen measured TV ratings through a specific 25,000 television sets. However, the growing use of computers, smartphones and tablets to watch TV shows has caused a growing view that Nielson was not getting a true view of the markets TV habits.

Recently, Nielson announced that they are partnering with Facebook to track TV viewing habits of US consumers. According to Facebook, once a user logs into Facebook from a mobile device, Facebook will have the ability to take data from the user about what they are watching on the mobile device. Facebook users can opt out of tracking.


Both Nielson and Facebook have said that the data will be anonymous as Nielsen will assign numbers to the names of television shows and supplies those to Facebook who will not be aware of which numbers correspond to which shows. Facebook will give Nielson the aggregate numbers of the age and gender of all Facebook users that watched a specific television show.

“Consumers really are not aware of the extent to which Facebook is putting their non-Facebook activity to use. Watching television and surfing the Internet shouldn’t necessarily involve Facebook” – Julia Horwitz, a consumer protections counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, TechTimes

Nielson partnered with Twitter in 2012 for the “Nielson Twitter TV Rating” and YouTube in 2013 to help measure the engagement of television programming on Twitter and YouTube.