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facebookTwitter made some waves last year by announcing that it was partnering with Nielsen to create a special metric that measured audience engagement with a television show in real time. Now Facebook, not to be outdone, is looking to provide TV networks with similar data from its own service.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, Facebook will be providing reports to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and a few other undisclosed partners about how many likes, comments and shares their shows are generating on the social network.

Both Facebook and Twitter are racing to turn over data to networks in a hope that their platform will be the go-to way for television execs to judge engagement online. If either company can manage to prove to networks that they are more useful in the battle for viewers’ eyeballs, that could translate into major money for either social platform.

Facebook currently thinks that it’s well-positioned to be the social network of choice for TV, because of its user demographics. One television exec told the Wall Street Journal that he felt Twitter, by nature of its userbase, overrepresented young women, skewing the metrics. Facebook thinks that it can better provide a representative sample.

“The conversation is being generated by a group that is much more representative of the general population– that means we should have a better signal as it relates to ratings,” Daniel Slotwiner, the head of Facebook’s Measurement Solutions Group, told the Wall Street Journal.

While we don’t know yet who’s going to win the battle, one thing is clear: the floodgates have been opened for television makers to use social metrics as a key way of evaluating their shows’ popularity.

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