Microsoft Social Engagement – Source limitations
AlfaPeople |
Dec 01, 2016

Microsoft Social Engagement – Source limitations

Microsoft Social Engagement – In my last blog post I introduced Microsoft Social Engagement and which sources the platform is listening to. This blog post will focus on the limitations we are faced with within each input source. At the moment Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs ( and WordPress) and News are the input sources Microsoft Social Engagement are collecting information from.

Before going into each source, a general restraint has to be mentioned. The access to and detail of data is controlled by what the individual supplier chooses to display, thus constraining the accuracy of some of the analysis in Microsoft Social Engagement. Below I will cover each input source individually.


Up until April 30th 2015 you were able to do keyword and #hashtag searches on public content (via the Facebook Search API), however this was closed by Facebook. With the closing of the Search API, we also saw a privacy settings change to “private by default”, where users restrict visibility to their “Friends”, “Friends of Friends”, etc. Thus Microsoft Social Engagement (together with its peers) have become reliant on following and/or owning Facebook Pages. On the Facebook Pages that you follow (Firm A), you (Firm B) will be able to collect public posts to that Facebook Page (of Firm A). However, when you own the Facebook Page will be able to collect both public and non-public posts (these being private messages) written by your customers. Lastly location information is not provided for the comments made to Facebook Pages.


  • No open API for keyword search
  • Collection of posts limited to Facebook Pages followed or owned
  • No location insights


Microsoft Social Engagement is able to basically collect everything the supplier chooses to display. With Twitter this is a lot! Twitter is a public media and all tweets are publically available to everyone, even the location of it (unless it’s a private one-to-one message between two followers). This means that you are able to do – hold on – keyword search (within post, paragraph and sentences), #hashtag search, follow sites (@accounts) and users (@) with Microsoft Social Engagement.


  • None! (from an input point of view)


The search capabilities for YouTube are similar to those of Twitter, thus you can both do keyword search and #hashtag search. However, on YouTube you are not able to follow a specific channel and thus acquire the comments being posted. However, if your search queries are specific enough, you might be able to get some of the information – however it is difficult. In regard to location information, YouTube does not provide this for user commenting.


  • Not able to follow YouTube channels
  • No location insights

Blogs ( and WordPress)

Searching and WordPress is done in a similar way as with YouTube, thus the blogs are faced with the same limitations. You are therefore not able to follow a specific blog and acquire the comments specifically posted to this blog, nor the location. Another limitation is the degree of coverage Microsoft is promising. With Microsoft Social Engagement it is ‘promised’ that is fully covered, whereas WordPress only has limited coverage – not providing us with a coverage-percentage.

If you blog a lot, a workaround for acquiring data could be to link to you blogpost on your Facebook Page or on Twitter and within the blog ask people to comment on it on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Not able to follow a specific blog
  • Limited coverage of WordPress
  • No location insights


News are as vaguely defined as the ‘limited coverage’ of WordPress. Microsoft does not supply a list of news sources that are included. What we are told is that News covers a wide variety of international news publications and wires (last I heard it was around 5000 sources). However, over time you get a sense of which news sources are included, and which are not. Search wise News are similar to YouTube and Blogs, and gives you access to keyword and #hashtag search, but not the follow option.

Bonus: Some publications are not publically available on the web, however Microsoft Social Engagement still collects information on these (but does not contain a link to the original source).


  • Not able to follow a specific news source
  • No clear idea of the extent of news sources covered

Well, I think this covers it. I hope you liked my input on the limitations we are faced with in Microsoft Social Engagement. If you have questions or remarks please feel free to contact us. Otherwise, please share it if you enjoyed the post.