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Facebook bets on sports talk with SportStream acquisition

Sports fans aren't exactly clamoring for a special social network of their own, which is why SportStream created a platform that culled the best sports voices from all your social streams. Facebook took notice of SportStream, and as part of its push to surface better content, came calling. The social network announced Tuesday that SportStream has joined its team.

People talk about sports on Facebook constantly. The Super Bowl was the network's most-discussed topic in the U.S. this year. SportStream's algorithms found and filtered sports conversations happening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and offered up curated streams that sports teams could embed on their own sites. That's where the stars aligned: Facebook also likes to find and serve up content for media partners to embed.

Facebook is striving to find a balance between safeguarding the private information its users want to share with just their friends and surfacing the public conversations people are having about hot topics. It's the latter that Facebook has to work on to keep Twitter from becoming the default framework for public discussion.

"From the 30 million people in the U.S. talking about the NFL during opening weekend to Kobe Bryant announcing his return to the Lakers via his Facebook page earlier this month, a spirited conversation about sports is happening on Facebook both in real-time and over the water cooler the day after," wrote Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice president of media partnerships and global operations. "We want to help people connect with their passion around sports, and the world more generally. If there is something interesting going on, people are talking about it on Facebook. From favorite television shows to breaking news, these conversations are happening on Facebook."

It's unclear just how Facebook will integrate SportStream, though the 18-month-old start-up said in its own statement about the acquisition that it will continue to work with its established partners during the transition to Facebook.

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