Facebook Comments Platform Brings Media Partners Into Users’ News Feeds

Facebook is relaunching its commenting plugin that will promise to insert media partners into users’ news feeds. Previously, when a user made a comment on another site with their Facebook profile, the comment remained with that outside site. Now, with comment threads from a partner site appearing as part of users’ news feeds, publishers are hoping to mine that much-desired “engagement” that advertisers seem to value.

Among the launch partners on this next phase of Facebook’s commenting system are Examiner.com, Discovery.com, GigaOM, InsideFacebook, TechCrunch, The Economist, Redbook.com, SportingNews.com, and SB Nation.

The new commenting system isn’t just available to the launch partners. The plugin can be added to any site with just one line of code. By extending actual comments between Facebook and other websites (as opposed to a line in a news feed that a user has just commented on a particular site), the new commenting plugin links directly back to the original content on your site.

Comments will be threaded together, regardless if they were made on a publishers’ site or on the post on Facebook. The idea will also appeal to publishers who have scared off advertisers with anonymous — and sometimes offensive — comments. The idea here is that people love commenting on their friends’ posts, so this will bring a whole other level of conversation, one that is more public and less likely to stir abuse.

Still, just to make sure, Facebook will allow publishers to control the visibility of a comment (from making it private to hiding it completely) and can blacklist users and words (profanity as well as “spammy terms”), all from their own moderation dashboard.

For years, allowing largely unfiltered commenting on websites has been a problem for publishers. They didn’t want to tamp down the promise of robust dialog among users by setting the bar to entry to high. Yet, at the same time, many advertisers felt many sites had it too low. But over the past few years, publishers and advertisers have been able to strike a balance. This next step with Facebook should help raise the comfort label.