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While Twitter doubles down on TV, Facebook reminds everyone it’s still a big player

Facebook is notoriously quiet about its internal numbers, but VP Dan Rose revealed a few TV statistics during his talk at the All Things D conference today. He said they counted 54 million Super Bowl mentions and 20 million for the Grammys. If we assume those numbers were taken over the same time period as Twitter’s reporting, that would mean Facebook’s private conversations outpaced Twitter’s public conversations for the biggest TV events of the year so far.

Facebook wants you to know that it’s still in the hunt with social TV. “How did you here about Downton Abbey?” Rose asked. “I discovered it on Facebook. I kept seeing it pop up in my news feed. The simple fact is most of us find the TV shows we enjoy by listening to suggestions from our friends. That’s the primary discovery mechanism for content right now. Imagine a future, though, in which you turn on the TV and see a feed of all the shows your friends watch. We think that’s a very compelling idea. Content discovery always has been and always will be social.”

One of Facebook’s biggest social TV plays is with Netflix, but an old law has prohibited Netflix from sharing viewing history in the US. Now amended to eliminate the restriction, Netflix is working on a Facebook app to seamlessly share what you’re watching with your friends — with your permission, of course.

Facebook has also been working with Comcast with a “friends trends” feature that shows your friends’ most popular shows (in aggregate), straight from the set-top box experience.

But compared to Twitter’s recent moves — partnering with Nielsen and buying Bluefin Labs — Facebook appears to be moving much slower in the social TV space. Rose admits that the vision of a true social TV guide may be “many years out.”

But Facebook’s scale is immense, giving it an advantage over Twitter when solving friend-to-friend discovery problems. The question remains: when will we see it on TV?

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