Facebook is in the news yet again. The world’s leading social network last week updated its comment widget to allow personalized chats on third-party websites. Facebook says the free plugin will make life easy for publishers to add Facebook-themed commenting functionality to their websites.
As with any Facebook feature, there are mixed reactions on whether the new comment widget is – good, bad or neutral, especially for business users. Here’s my take on it.
How does Facebook Comment Plugin work?
Anonymous comments can often be rude, abusive and unpleasant. Facebook says it updated the Comments Box Plug-in, which links comments made on third party websites to a member’s Facebook account, to encourage personal and relevant conversations. The move is expected to minimize spam comments as it signals the end of anonymity.
Anonymity isn’t bad, but it’s heavily overused and abused in the social media world. Of course, the most obvious implication of this change is that users will be forced to think twice before they comment on any site. Therefore, a huge drop in number of comments can’t be ruled out.
TechCrunch adopted the Facebook comment plugin and observed the overall number of comments have fallen dramatically. While TechCrunch says it’s expected and “not a bad thing”, it may have serious implications for a business which thrives on traffic redirection and comments with inbound links.
The obvious benefit is that you get quality comments. There would be a decline in the number of useless comments.
Pros & Cons
TechCrunch team has done a wonderful job of highlighting the pros and cons of the new Facebook comments plugin. As expected, the benefits include a reduction in number of trolls, tighter integration with Facebook and the ability to socialize comments through Facebook “likes” feature.
The biggest disadvantage being the comments plugin does not work with Google and Twitter credentials. There are other issues as well – it compromises privacy as people may find their replies in your Facebook News stream reproduced on another site’s comments – not exactly a pleasant surprise. Further, if Facebook is blocked due to access restrictions, your site’s comments system falls flat.
It’s understandable that Facebook left out Twitter and Google on purpose. While the former is its closest competitor in social media, the latter is not in friends list. However, that accounts for a massive proportion of the daily web traffic and there’s no doubt that it will hurt the wide scale adoption of this plugin.
Good, bad or neutral?
Coming back to the original question – is the new Facebook comment plugin good, bad or neutral for your business? Do the pros outweigh the cons or vice-versa? IMO, there’s no one size fits all solution here. If your website gets quality anonymous comments, I see no reason to block them with this plugin. On the other hand, if your site is plagued with spam due to anonymous comments, the Facebook comments plugin is a blessing in disguise for your business.
Do you plan to use the Facebook comments plugin for moderating your website users? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.