This story has been updated. A July 15 version of this story erroneously characterized certain features of the partnership.
Facebook and Nielsen, a TV ratings measurement company, are teaming up to collect data about your mobile TV watching habits.
Starting this fall, just in time for all the new network shows, Facebook will scan your profile and send your age and sex to Nielsen.
"The world is shifting radically, and so we had to evolve our measurement so that we could capture all of this fragmented viewing," Cheryl Idell, a Nielsen executive vice president, told the Los Angeles Times. Idell is right. Gone are the days where most people watched TV on a TV. Now you can watch your favorite "Game of Thrones" episode on your iPhone or iPad on the subway, in the bathroom, at work, in an airplane, on a boat ...
So if you've ever entertained the idea of finishing the last 10 minutes of "Pretty Little Liars" on your iPad, what does this deal mean for you?
All the things that could help identify you are, so they claim, protected.
According to the Times, the companies described the deal as a “double-blind science experiment.” Basically, Facebook is not going to know what TV show you actually watch, it will just get a numerical code representing a show. In turn, Nielsen will not get any information on you other than your gender and age.
This isn’t the only data-collection program using Facebook to collect non-Facebook related data.
In 2010, the two companies joined forces to collect similar data about which online advertisements were being watched.
You won’t receive any targeted ads or suggestions.
Facebook, which is often criticized for lax privacy policies given the amount of information it has on users, doesn’t want Nielsen to use this information for anything other than getting a better understanding of consumer habits.
"We have worked with Nielsen under strong privacy principles," a Facebook spokesperson told the Times. "We don't believe that audience measurement systems should be used to adjust targeting; they should only be used for measurement. This protects the privacy of people viewing ads and ensures that both advertisers and publishers have the same information about the audiences."
Nielsen stressed that it is not involved in serving or the targeting of advertisements that consumers will see.