Facebook has released a brand new version of its Comments Box. A plugin for your website which allows users to comment on your site and simultaneously share it on Facebook. With a bit of code added to your site (or a plugin to your CMS) it sits like the Facebook Like Box (on the right-hand column of this blog) neatly on your webpage. Its first incarnation was released in February 2009, but this new, highly improved version allows you to have much more functionality in configuring the box for your site.
One particularly good feature is the ability to moderate. Here’s what Facebook says on this:
Admins can choose to make the default for new comments entered either “visible to everyone” or “has limited visibility” on the site (i.e., the comment is only visible to the commenter and their friends), to help mitigate irrelevant content.
It’s also possible for admins to blacklist words and ban users. When a blacklisted word appears, the comment will automatically have limited visibility.
However, you can’t edit comments directly due to security and authenticity issues with Facebook. Although there is a clever Grammar Filter you can activate. It does things like adding punctuation to comments and auto-capitalising the first word of a sentence.
Perhaps the most important function of Comments is the way content is distributed. Friends or anyone who likes your Page on Facebook can share comments that are posted on their newsfeed. You can choose whether a comment is ‘Posted to Facebook’ when you make it. NB. The default is to post it.
Similar to most of the other Facebook social plugins when you post a comment a ‘story’ appears on all your friends’ News Feeds indicating that you’ve made a comment on the website. This is also linked back to the website the comment was posted from.
Other features include the ability to change the box’s colour scheme to a darker colour, if this fits better with the aesthetics of your website. And you can specify the number of posts to appear on your site. This is done with the Facebook Open Graph Protocol.
InsideFacebook.com says all this amounts to a big leap from the 2009 version:
[The] distribution, flexibility, and access updates significantly increase the plugin’s appeal, and should lead to more installs on top of the 50,000 websites that have already integrated it.
Facebook really has this whole integration game sown up, doesn’t it?! No wonder the company is now being potentially valued at $100 Billion dollars. But that’s a whole new blog post!
Keep following this Facebook integration series to find out more on new social plugins and tips on making them work for you.
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Oh, and do comment on this blog post!