Facebook would like to take over user comments across the Web. Though the social network has had a plugin for managing comments since 2009, CNET reports that Zuckerberg and Co. are gearing up to release an entire third-party commenting platform to compete with startups like Disqus and IntenseDebate. As it did with the Like button, Facebook hopes to use comments as another way to bring the wild Web into Facebook.
“Based on feedback from developers about ways to improve our existing comments plugin, we’re testing an updated plugin that leverages authenticity and social relevancy to increase distribution,” said Facebook in response to the rumors. “We’re testing the plugin on our Facebook Blog and Developer Blog but have no further details to share at this time.”
Websites like People.com have already done this with Facebook’s current commenting plug-in, which works a lot like a Wall Post or status update on Facebook.com. Comments you make can be shared on your wall. An upgraded platform may allow you to comment on comments, “Like” certain comments, share links, etc. But will it allow anonymous posting? Currently, most major commenting platforms and systems allow users to comment without registering and allow users to log in from multiple services like Twitter, Yahoo, Google, etc. It is unlikely Facebook will allow either of these actions, as it doesn’t benefit from any endeavor unless content is transferred back to Facebook.
Facebook’s current platform likely hasn’t seen large-scale adoption because of its lack of flexibility and (relative) difficulty of installation. While platforms like Disqus have 1-2 step installation guides and custom code for most blog and Website engines, Facebook hasn’t updated its code and documentation to simplify installation. Many Website owners may also worry about locking themselves into a Facebook-only commenting arrangement.
Comments are only the latest way Facebook has expanded its reach and began competing in a new market. The social network is working on a Webmail competitor to Gmail, launched Facebook Deals to competes with Groupon, released Facebook Places, which competes with geo-location services like Foursquare, and is rumored to be mounting an attack on VOIP services like Skype.
Blog and Website owners of the world, would you consider adding a Facebook commenting widget to your site? What features would it need to sway you?