Facebook gives permalinks to individual comments, hides potential spam
Facebook now assigns permanent links to all comments on the site and hides spam comments rather than just marking them with a darker background. The company announced the improvements in a post on its Facebook + Journalists page.
With the addition of permalinks, users can share a direct link to any comment. When users visit the link, the comment will appear at the top of the page and will briefly appear highlighted in yellow. Previously there was no way to do this, and it could be difficult to find a particular comment among a thread of dozens or sometimes hundreds of others. Permalinks can be accessed by clicking the timestamp of a comment.
Facebook added permalinks to comments in its plug-in for third-party sites last year, but didn’t do this for the main site. Whether this was an issue of scale or lack of demand is unclear. However, with the increase in Facebook activity among public figures, more public conversations are happening on the site and being able to link to comments directly is important. On Twitter, for example, every tweet has a unique URL, making it easy to refer back to specific parts of a thread.
Other features might not be necessary when users interact with their friends on the social network, but as they engage with pages and popular people who allow subscribers, the deficiencies of comments on Facebook.com become more apparent. For example, Facebook doesn’t thread comments or sort them by relevancy on the site as it does with its plug-in. On Facebook.com, all comments are presented in a single thread. There is no way to clearly and directly respond to a comment from another user. Admins can @ tag people who have commented on a post, but users can only tag the names of their friends. (In Facebook groups, users can tag anyone in the group even without being connected as friends.) Comments are presented in order of when they were posted. However, the Facebook comments plugin used by websites including this one shows relevant comments from friends, friends of friends and the most liked or active discussion threads above others.
Comments on Facebook.com do have spam detection. Potential spam comments are not visible to other users, but they used to show to admins with a darker grey background. This would catch moderators’ eyes so they could delete the comment, block the user or unmark the item as spam. Now potential spam will be hidden behind an ellipsis. Page owners can click the ellipsis to see the comments and take action on them.
[Update 3/30/12 3:01 p.m. PT - Vadim Lavrusik, journalist program manager at Facebook, tells us this change is for public comments on personal Timelines that have the subscribe feature enabled, not pages.]