Why Did Twitter Drop Datasift? Why Did Facebook Partner with Them?

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    FACEBOOK | TWITTERWhy Did Twitter Drop Datasift? Why DidFacebook Partner with Them?By Guest on Apr. 20, 2015 - 10:00 AM

    Twitter recently announced they would be making changes to the way inwhich companies could access data from the network.

    From now on, companies will only be able to access the Twitter firehosethe stream of 500 million tweets per day that comes in from Twitter users,which companies can pull valuable insights fromby going directly throughTwitter (with GNIP, the company that Twitter acquired in 2014).

    Previously Datasift and another company, NTT, which dealt with tweets inJapanese, licensed Twitter data directly from the network. Those companiescreated a structure for the data and sold access to it.

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  • created a structure for the data and sold access to it.

    More than a few people have cried foul at Twitters move and how suddenly itwas apparently made. It does perhaps leave some companies that partneredwith Datasift in the lurch, at least in the short term.

    This story is coming on the heels of the announcement that Facebook ispartnering exclusively with Datasift for its new Topic Datathe informationabout conversations on Facebook that will be available to marketers (andwhich replaces the previously available listening data).

    Falcon Socials head of Partnerships and Innovation, Dennis Green-Lieber,works with all of the companies involved here, and to him, these moves makesense based on what Facebook and Twitter aim to do with their respectivedata sets.

    When Datasift worked with Twitter, they pulled data from that network andother sources, and served it to both end users and agencies, analyticscompanies and platforms that in turn worked with end users.

    The nature of Twitter means that most of the data the network generates ispublic. Twitter and GNIP have sold to people who can inject the firehose anddrive product innovation and build value for clients by providing actionableinsights.

    Twitter, as well as end users, are getting more ambitious in terms of the usesof this data. Listening to what people are talking about in a city could, forexample, help a company determine how much demand there will be for theirproduct, and they could ramp up their production accordingly.

    Twitter is cutting off Datasift, which both resold and repackaged data into aformat that their clients could use more or less as is.

    Twitter says, basically, that this change is what needs to happen in order tohelp them and their customers meet those ambitions. As Twitters ZachHofer-Shall put it, they want to develop a deeper understanding of customerneeds, get direct feedback for the product roadmap and work more closelywith data customers.

  • This comes alongside the news that Facebook will change their offering sothat their data will be only accessible through Datasift, the partner that Twitterhas just dropped.

    Its not, as it might seem, a case of retaliation. (Twitter didnt stop workingwith Datasift because of the Facebook partnership.) Its been part of theirplan since they acquired GNIP.

    Facebooks new program is called topic datait will be keyword based,anonymized demographic data and insights from all posts and status updateson the network, except those that are only viewable by the poster.

    The news is a change for Facebook, which has generally allowed lessaccess to data about what users were saying because so many posts on thenetwork are private. Their public search API and monetization of that datahave not always been their top priority.

    Datasift will be the intermediary between Facebook and anyone that wants toaccess that data on conversations on the network. Partners will work withDatasift to integrate the data via their Pylon infrastructure and API.

    Dennis has seen the tools for Facebook data that will be available viaDatasift and the possible applications for it. He says theyre providing astrong product to the market and that hes looking forward to seeing theapplications for it.

    Facebook, in giving data to Datasift, will lay down certain ground rulesnotonly will it be anonymized, queries will have to have at least 100 matches toreturn any results, certain queries will not be allowed. This looks like a smartstrategy for these privacy-first platforms and Datasift is well-positioned tofunction in a framework like this.

    It would be natural to see other networks that need to control information,like, say, Sina Weibo or WeChat going down a similar route.

    The two approaches reflect the use cases for the two networks. You couldalso call them two different directions for how people deal with data. As moreand more information is generated by social networks, theres naturally going

  • and more information is generated by social networks, theres naturally goingto be a divergence in terms of data treatment.

    Twitter wants companies to innovate with its public data, and thinks that thebest way to do so is to serve it in its undigested form to companies that cancreate different infrastructures around it in order to better interpret it.

    Facebook, on the other hand, needs to keep a somewhat tighter rein on itsdata; posts are still, by default, private. Their choosing a single provider towork with on Topic Data will presumably allow a greater amount of controlover the data and how people use it.

    In social media in general, theres been a lot of hand wringing about Twittersannouncement, and a lot talk about the relative wisdom of counting onanother company for a significant part of your business.

    Its not all wrong, but it tends to underestimate businesses like Datasift, andignore what, it seems to us, has clearly been Twitters strategy for a whilenow.

    Major social networks have to figure out how to balance plenty of intereststheir users, themselves, third parties and others.

    Partners like Datasift are smart enough to realize that there needs to be agood reason for a social network to work with them. In this case, Twitterdecided that wasnt happening, but for Facebook it was.

    As the space matures, therell be some general consolidation in the marketinstead of having tons of different companies doing similar things, there willbe a smaller number that bring value to networks and end users in eachother these type of data sets.

    In this consolidation, for vendors, advantage comes down to how smart youare about where the data market is moving and having the ability to buildinfrastructure and innovative productsthose who cant will find itincreasingly harder to compete in the next stages.

    Matthew Klein is a content manager at Facebook Marketing Partner FalconSocial. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Falcon Social

  • Social. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Falcon Socialenables enterprises to Listen and Engage, Publish and Measure all from aunified platform.

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