Facebook’s CrowdTangle helps NBC rack up 2mn views for video story


The National Broadcasting Company, or NBC as it is popularly known, used one of Facebook’s tools, CrowdTangle to find, and transform a local video news story, into a nationwide trending video that garnered more than 2 million views!

Here’s how NBC used CrowdTangle to uncover and broadcast the emotionally compelling story of Joey Daley, and his mother who suffers from dementia and their journey together. Joey’s story surfaced on NBC’s search from a local news source, and “Senior editor Emmanuelle Saliba, reporter Becky Bratu and the NBC News social news gathering team used CrowdTangle to source the initial video from local news sources, then turned it into a national story.”



CrowdTangle helps publishers and broadcasters keep track of trending stories and topics and it allows users “to spin up viral alerts to track any list cohort you might be interested in following, in this case around local news.”

Joey Daley’s story is an example of how major broadcasters and publications can leverage the CrowdTangle tool to locate and push local news stories that have the potential to appeal to a broader audience. Not only was Joey’s journey with his mother an emotional story, but was also informative to many people across social media on ways to gently care for their loved ones who might be going through the same.

NBC came across Joey Daley’s story through CrowdTangle data and found that it was performing well with a considerably high amount of views, and was being positively received by the audience.


“This story in particular popped up during a search of our Local News list, which includes local news websites, TV affiliates, and newspapers,” Emmanuelle Saliba said. “We noticed that this short clip of Joey Daley and his mother was very popular with this local outlet’s Facebook audience. The clip was getting a lot emotional reactions and also comments, so we decided to take a closer look into Joey’s YouTube series.”

“CrowdTangle allows its users to spin up viral alerts to track any list cohort they might be interested in following, in this case around local news.”

“I usually check each list a few times a day to see what stories are overperforming. I’m usually trying to find stories that have been overperforming in the last 6 hours,” Emmanuelle Saliba says.

Facebook acquired the tool back in 2016 for an undisclosed sum and intended for it to be beneficial towards the publishers that work with Facebook. ““We are excited to work with CrowdTangle to deliver these, and more insights to more publishers,” Facebook said back when news broke of their acquisition of CrowdTangle.

It has certainly helped NBC accomplish greater things. “We use CrowdTangle to quickly uncover emerging trending stories, particularly those featured in smaller markets,” Saliba explains. “One of the lists we created monitors local news, a great source for content deserving of a national spotlight.”


The Facebook-owned tool not only highlights trending stories and topics but also allows its users to gauge the sentiment based on Facebook reactions. “CrowdTangle allows users to sort by specific Facebook reactions, giving the opportunity to zero in on content that is overperforming by sad or heart reactions on Facebook. CrowdTangle helped to spot the video, but it also highlighted the surprisingly positive reaction people had to it. CrowdTangle data allows you to zero in on stories that are overperforming based on Facebook’s heart reaction. You can also toggle by what is overperforming based on comments or shares.”

With the data and insight delivered to them by the tool, NBC worked hard to transform a local news story into a detailed video story that encompassed Joey Daley’s endeavours, reaching millions of people.

“After watching all the videos in the series, Becky Bratu thought there was a different and more unique way they could tell Joey Daley’s story. She tracked him down and spent several hours on the phone interviewing him multiple times. “We then pitched the story to NBC News Digital and the leadership green-lit our write-up/short documentary idea,” Bratu explains.

“It took months of interviews and shoots, both in person and on the phone, hours of research, endless editing sessions and more meetings before the project was ready to be published,” she says. “The final version tackled dementia with Lewy bodies, the second most common form of the disease in older adults after Alzheimer’s, affecting more than 1.4 million Americans.”

After NBC published the finished product on their Facebook page, it received an overwhelmingly positive response from their audience, racking up 2 million views, thousands of shares and comments.

Becky Bratu fondly reflects on the story, “the story generated ‘maybe the most thoughtful debate we’ve ever seen in a comments section on a story on Facebook. Gone was name-calling and soapboxing,” she says, “replaced instead by compassion, empathy and a genuine curiosity in the story.”