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Facebook Comments

The social networking grasp of Facebook has expanded once again.  This past week, Facebook introduced a new update to its comments feature.

The update includes threaded comments, moderation controls, and the ability to sync comments to a Facebook Page. This no doubt signals another step toward Facebook’s proliferation across the web with its social plugins (for example, their Like button’s new update which we wrote about here). Perhaps the most notable feature about this update is the ability to sync comments across a site and a publisher’s Facebook Page. This has the potential to increase the discussion and commentary on websites and sync these comments throughout various platforms. Discussions can now be continuous throughout different online portals.

User Features:

1. Social Commenting– If users are logged into their Facebook account, users will be able to comment on any website with the Comments plugin. Additionally, user profile pictures will be displayed with each comment, along with a link to the commenter’s Facebook profile. Any public info (age, gender, location, and mutual friends) will also be displayed along with the comment.
2. Comment Order– Instead of being based on chronological order, comments are ranked based on your personal network. Relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and networks appear before other comments. Additionally, the most liked or popular discussions will also be at the top.
3. Threaded and Seamless Commenting– Conversations can now be ongoing throughout different online portals. Comments that take place on the Facebook platform will be visible on the website that hosts the plugin and vice-versa. This will allow all conversations to be ongoing.
4. Comment Sharing– Users have the option of sharing their comments with their Facebook profile, which will post the comment on their wall and appear on their friend’s Newsfeeds. This will allow friends to interact with conversations. If users prefer not to have out-of-Facebook activity on Facebook, they can keep it as such.
5. Comment Moderation– Comments can be moderated by other plugin users (not only by website administrators). Users can report inappropriate and spam comments.

Publisher Features:

1. Comment Plugin– The plugin is available for everybody to download from the Facebook developer’s page. To plug it into your website, simply click here.
2. Publisher Commenting- Page administrators will be able to comment on other websites as themselves or as their Facebook page (which Facebook has been rolling out throughout Facebook since they recently updated their Facebook pages). These comments will be posted on the Facebook Page’s wall so that fans can also join the conversation.
3. Threaded and Seamless Commenting- Since conversations can now be ongoing throughout different portals, the quality of conversations can be greatly improved as comments won’t be divided between a variety of platforms. This will help page administrators monitor and keep track of conversations.
4. Comment Moderation– Along with users being able to help moderate plugins, administrators will be able to hide comments or make comments private. They will also be able to blacklist users (which will greatly help eliminate spam) and words.

Here’s a screenshot of the plugin from Facebook’s blog:

Facebook Blog

It will be interesting to see how many websites adopt the comment plugin and what that does to online discussions (is this the beginning of the death of online anonymity?) Some websites are scared that the lack of anonymity might quiet down the conversations and some sites have already noticed a drop in comments when using the plugin. We’ll just have to wait and see…