Friday, April 15, 2011

Upcoming Facebook Page Commenting Changes

Facebook recently gave Page admins some cool tools and abilities. So of course, just as Big Brother giveth, he also taketh away....and apparently Facebook is getting ready to take something potentially major away from Page admins: the ability to disable the comment feature on Pages.

Apparently, in the next few weeks Facebook will be announcing that they're taking away this power--or, at least, all Pages other than those for prescription drugs and devices, according to this presentation from WCG.

My favorite part of that presentation is the one that addresses "Why is this policy happening." (slide 4). It cites four reasons:

  • "In the best interest of patients' health, Facebook wants to allow adverse events to be mentioned openly." Since when is Facebook all pro-patient rights? Or a pharma watchdog agency?
  • "They were being inundated with requests for Page comments to be disabled." Since when does Facebook give a shit about what users want? Facebook does what is best for Facebook. See the next two points...
  • "Having an open forum is Facebook's Way"--that's why they don't respond to user comments or complaints and only communicate changes like this comment policy to agencies or brands spending big money. If you're a regular person, you're invisible to Facebook--they care about one thing and one thing only: DOLLARS. As evidenced by the next point....
  • "Facebook makes money when people interact with Facebook. Blocking comments prevents additional ad views and gleaning information about users' likes/dislikes." Finally--the true answer to the question! So all that shit about "in the best interest of patients's health" and the rest of it...please. It's all about the Benjamins. And that's fine--but then at least be honest about it.
Sooo...what does this impending change mean for you if you're the admin of a Page for an organization that, while not in a regulated industry, has chosen for one reason or another not to enable comments on their Facebook Page? I'd suggest that now might be a good time to review your social media strategy and/or whatever internal policies that led to disabling comments in the first place. Can you get your org's leaders on board with enabling comments? If not, assuming this change does happen in the next few months, I'd suggest making some contingency plans. Will you shut down the Page once comments are enabled? If so, how will you communicate this to "likers" of the Page? Do you want to direct those people somewhere else instead--say, a private social networking platform or somewhere on your org's website? Will deleting the Page cause a stir among your members and generate bad WOM about your org--that you're controlling and deleted the Page because you coudln't control the conversation? If so, do your org's leaders care and are they prepared to respond to a potential outcry from members, assuming you do delete the Page? Or, other side of the coin, they decide to keep the Page once comments are enabled--what will the process/procedure be for montioring the comments? What is the plan if someone leaves a nasty comment or asks a question on the Page on a Saturday morning, or on a holiday? Are you familiar with the options for monitoring/moderating comments? If not, now might be a good time to get familiar with them--you can see what kinds of controls you have by going to "edit profile" on the Page you admin, then clicking the "manage permissions" tab under settings.

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