Not to be outdone by Twitter – who, yesterday introduced followable Moments and other means of tuning into Olympics news via its network – Facebook is rolling out a number of ways for its users to show support for their favorite teams plus track the Olympics news they care about in a dedicated section of the News Feed, the company announced this week.
Naturally, the social network is again bringing back Profile Frames for the Olympics. First introduced last year, this feature lets you place a custom frame around your Profile picture on Facebook. The new Olympics frames are branded with the Rio 2016 logo while also allowing you to show your support for your country or favorite teams. These will arrive by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, the recent Facebook acquisition MSQRD, a photo and video filter app, is rolling out country flag masks which you can overlay on your photos or videos starting today. The app earlier this summer also expanded to support live broadcasting to Facebook, so you can show your friends and family what you look like before and after you don your Olympics mask, if you choose.
The most interesting addition to the collection of Olympics-related content on Facebook, however, is the debut of a personalized section in your News Feed. From August 1st through August 5th, Facebook will greet users with an Olympics illustration and message at the top of their News Feed. (e.g. “Excited for the Games?,” followed by a prompt to explore.)
You may have already seen this greeting and ignored it, thinking it was just another of Facebook’s prods to get you to share.
But instead, if you click through, you’ll be taken to a page that offers a “dynamic” mix of Olympics content, including Olympics-themed search results and conversations, as well as Events, Live Videos from Rio, and more which are personalized to you.
Facebook will also send out a similar greeting on August 21st for the Closing Ceremony, it says.
Unfortunately, if you dismiss or ignore this greeting and it disappears, there’s not an obvious way to find your way over to this Olympics page again. In fact, that’s one of the drawbacks of Facebook, when it comes to tracking sports content on its site today.
This is not the first time the company has invested in making discussing live sports more of a destination, rather than an activity. Earlier this year, it rolled out “Sports Stadium,” a section inside the social network where fans can enjoy play-by-play coverage of sports matches, view comments from friends, experts, and analysts, and check out other game and play information. But this page is similarly difficult to find, if Facebook doesn’t place it in front of you in some sort of obvious way.
Because of these navigational challenges, Twitter may actually be easier to use when it comes to tracking live commentary around the games, catching up on the medal counts, or watching a few highlights. Twitter has also been working to align itself with the broader audience of sports fans in recent months thanks to deals with the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and more.