There are a lot of pros and cons to the Facebook Plugin Comment Box for businesses. Whether you are using it on your webpage or blog or whether you are using it to leave comments on other sites and blogs, you should be aware of the impact.
First let me explain how the comment box works.
At the bottom of a story posted on a website, there is usually a comment box. By adding the Facebook plugin, the comment box will allow people to sign in with their Facebook profiles to leave comments. You simply type your comment into the box and click the “Comment” button. You’ll be prompted to log in with Facebook, if you aren’t logged in already. Your comment will then be automatically published back to Facebook.
Taking it one step further, anyone who comments on your Facebook comment, will show up on the original website comment thread. The system is designed to give the user a better discussion experience. On the original site, you will see comments from your Facebook friends, friends of friends, and the most liked or active discussion threads first.
Facebook puts forth these features of the plugin.
Social relevance – the new plugin uses what Facebook calls “social signals” to prioritize comments on posts. Comments from people in your social graph, highly-liked comments and active threads rise to the top; those flagged as spam fall to the bottom
- Comment syndication and aggregation – commenters can push their comments to Facebook; comments left as a reply over there are aggregated back on the original site. Comments then stay sync’d between the two sites.
- Moderation – Facebook has included a robust set of moderation tools, including visibility settings (comments can be set to be visible to everyone or set so that people only see those from people in their social graph), blacklisting words and banning users. People can also self-moderate, hiding comments that they don’t want to see
Here are the Pros and Cons that I see linked to the Facebook Plugin Comment Box.
Using facebook as a page. This carries over to the new plugin, meaning that a company’s Facebook Page can engage in conversations on third-party sites.
Broader reach of business and user comments. Companies can significantly affect the tone and course of a discussion by participating in it and giving their side of things.
Two way integration. When a brand comments on an external site and syndicates the comment back to their Facebook Page, people who reply to that comment via Facebook will become integrated with the comment stream on the website.
Less spam. Facebook’s new comment plugin offers the potential to reduce spam comments by forcing users to connect to their Facebook account when leaving a comment. The additional transparency offers the potential of reducing spam comments and comment trolls.
Huh? There’s lots of potential for confusion, and controversy, when people realize their comments don’t just reside within the protective, search-resistant walls of Facebook.
Watch what you say. Community managers themselves need to take extra care when posting comment replies, in the knowledge they may be synchronized on another site.
No synchronization. If Facebook changes things around, or if you change comment plugins, you will lose the comments people have previously left on your site.
Facebook in charge. The prioritization of comments by the social graph runs the risk of not providing dissenting opinions when it comments to debates on content.