Facebook improves its commenting system; adds Hotmail

In early March, Facebook announced major changes to its comments tool which we analysed how it could impact a business. Just like Facebook’s social plugins such as the ‘like’ button, many also put the new comment box to use on their respective websites. Now Facebook will be giving it a redesign and also upgrading its technology.

In a blog post on the Facebook Developers Blog, Facebook announced the changes that would be visible from now on.

What’s new?

  • Better looking news feed story – Each comment is displayed on the news feed as a comment on an external website. This news feed story would now be more descriptive by showing a snapshot of the page in question too. An image from the page, page title, text summary and the site URL would be visible unlike a simple story earlier.
  • Permanent link to a specific comment – In most commenting systems, there is a permanent link for each comment. This helps in sharing a comment with someone especially when there are plenty of comments on that page. Each comment from now would have a permanent link which makes sharing of a comment much easier. Thereafter, notifications sent to users will also go directly to the permanent link rather than to the story as a whole.
  • Dark Colours – As per the feedback given by developers, Facebook has introduced a dark coloured comments box which could be suitable for websites with a darker tone. This feature would only be made available after April 13, 2011.
  • Hotmail added to list of login providers – At the time of launch, Facebook comments box had support for Facebook itself and Yahoo!. Later AOL came in as part of the options. Now Hotmail users would also be able to post comments through their E-mail credentials rather than using Facebook details.

Facebook would automatically upgrade websites using the comments plugin from its original version to the new version on April 29, 2011. Just like other features offered by Facebook, once upgraded, there is no turning back.

Where are the brands benefiting?

Brands would benefit from the changes through:

  • Better looking news feed story means more visibility for a website and also for the story which a user comments on. Both are given good visibility on a user news feed making it a useful tool to use.
  • Dark colours won’t bring any marketing value to the brand but give more websites the chance to put the tool into use. Dark coloured websites can also then place the comments box on their website.
  • Besides 600 million users of Facebook and users of AOL and Yahoo!, the comment box would also offer support for nearly 400 million users of Hotmail to login and use the comment feature.

Have you implemented Facebook comments on your website? Do you plan to do so in the future?