In a week when all eyes are on Facebook and the subject of how data about us on social media platforms gets used without us knowing, there’s been some consolidation afoot in the world of media-based big data services. DataSift, the London-based company that pulls data from conversations across social, news and blog platforms, anonymises it, and then parses it for insights for third party organizations, is being acquired by Meltwater, the company originally out of Norway but now based in San Francisco that provides business intelligence services such as media monitoring and AI analytics on internal business communications.

Financial terms are not being disclosed for the deal but it includes technology, employees and DataSift’s customer base. DataSift had raised about $72 million in funding from investors that include Insight Venture Partners, Scale Ventures and Upfront Ventures and the company had never disclosed its valuation.

Meltwater is bootstrapped and has never raised outside funding, but it has also been described as a “unicorn” with a billion-dollar valuation — a description that the company would not confirm but also does not contest. DataSift’s CEO Tim Barker, who is taking on a role at Meltwater leading his team there, said that it’s business as usual for DataSift’s existing customers, while the two will also work on integrating their platforms together.

Combined, the customer base includes media companies, brands and educational and other organizations that make use of the data. Disclosed customer names include Viacom, Ogilvy, Air France, Vans, Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School.

The news comes at an interesting time in the world of social media, and more specifically the data that swirls around it. Over the weekend, we saw a huge story break about how the analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was involved in what has amounted to a data scandal: an affiliate working with the firm had used an innocuous-looking research survey to in turn tap into the social graphs and the related data of respondents, by way of Facebook’s API, netting tens of millions of profiles in the process. Read more from…

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