When it comes to the chatter that surrounds televised events—be it presidential debates, awards shows, or the Super Bowl—Twitter reigns supreme, in large part due to its fast-moving, reverse chronological timeline. Despite boasting a user base that is nearly five times as big, Facebook still lags behind Twitter on this front: The ranking of posts in Facebook's news feed, determined largely by the company's algorithm, does not allow users to easily track real-time updates.
But this could be changing. On Wednesday, Nielsen revealed that it will now take into account the Facebook conversations that accompanies TV shows. And Facebook's latest announcement aims to capitalize on the sports fans who have already been using the platform to dispense running commentary. The Facebook Sports Stadium, a new dedicated sports hub, will host game-related posts from friends and experts, along with stats and scoring information.
Though the sports section is launching in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, it will ultimately cover all sports—or at least the ones being discussed by your friends, whose updates get their own tab. Another tab will provide commentary from the people Facebook has dubbed "experts," which at first glance appear to be verified users. Fans will also be able to like, comment on, and share every play, as Facebook will offer real-time updates on scoring and plays while the game progresses.
If Twitter does opt to ditch its linear timeline, which some users have already spotted in testing, a feature like the Sports Stadium could give Facebook a boost. At the moment, however, Twitter is working overtime to reel in new users; the company is banking on its Moments tab, which debuted in October and curates tweets about breaking news and timely entertainment and sports events.
Currently available on the iPhone, Facebook's new sports section is expected to roll out to Android users in the coming weeks. It will also be accessible on desktop during the Super Bowl.