Facebook Signal: What It Does and How To Do It

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The next battle in the war has been announced. Earlier this month, a rival for Facebook’s Instant Articles, we were told, was in the works. Google was collaborating with Twitter, among others, to get this up and running.

But Facebook had already tried to counter that with credibility: Facebook Live was offered to journalists to try to make Facebook the face of breaking news, instead of Twitter. Now Facebook is trying to take on Twitter’s curation tools, which give journalists an excellent bird’s eye view of what’s trending where and how. Collection and Curator are two such tools for Twitter that can do much of what Facebook’s new tool does.

Facebook Signal

Introducing Facebook Signal, which you can only access if you are a mediaperson, which will help you curate and collect what’s trending, and put it out there to go viral if the Internet gods so decree. So here’s a gist of what Facebook Signal is and how to use Facebook Signal.

How does it work?

It’s a feature that helps you find out what’s trending, search for what is trending, gather all the information you want, and then embed it. You can search through whatever has been made searchable on Facebook (public posts and Notes) and Instagram to find whatever information you want.

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Facebook Signal2Then you go on to the Leaderboard, which gives you more detail: who is being talked about, who is doing the talking, how often is the talking happening, and more.

This tool is also one of the handiest ways of searching through Instagram, which can be a confusing experience when you’re in a hurry, have a deadline and much find accurate information. You can search using hashtags or locations. The latter feature is particularly interesting since when news breaks in one location, you want direct responses that have been geotagged for authentic information.

For instance, citizens’ photos and videos are a huge journalistic tool now. Many incidents, like the instances of police brutality in the US or what’s happening on the ground in Syria, are broken by people, not journalists. Journalists pick it up and run with it, giving the news extra reach and credibility. This is genuine though unplanned collaboration between sources and journalists. For such instances, being able to search for whatever is being uploaded from a location will give journalists far more data and information than otherwise possible.

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Facebook Signal3

‘Collections’ let you gather all this information and keep it for reference. This is particularly useful if you’re tracking the development of a story. You can embed whatever you find and format through Signal easily, according to Facebook, through Storyful. Crowdtangle is how you keep track of what’s trending.

How can you get this?

You need to ask for it here. But asking for it does not guarantee that you will get it. You will need to be a mediaperson to have access to this tool, which is free. You must add your employer – and your employer needs to be a media publisher – to your Facebook profile information to get access to this feature. Once you get it, all the features of this tool will be available to you.

Pics via Facebook

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