Facebook beefs up comment box for external sites

Sites will be able to better monitor comments and rank them by popularity

A Facebook plug-in for website publishers that lets them add comment boards to their pages has been revamped with more granular controls for moderating discussions and a more fine-tuned relevance algorithm for ordering posts.

The Comments Box plug-in, which publishers can add to their sites by copying and pasting a single line of Facebook code, features what the company calls a finer "social relevance."

For example, the box will display more prominently comments posted by a website visitor's friends or friends of friends. It also will take the popularity of comments into consideration in ranking, and it will flag and hide spam, Facebook said on Tuesday.

In addition, users get to see information about commenters that they make publicly available on Facebook, such as work title, age and current city, as well as mutual friends, according to the company.

Site administrators get more controls over comments, including the option of making them by default visible to everyone or visible only to the commenter and their friends, as well as blacklisting certain words and banning certain users.

Administrators also get access to a centralized dashboard from where they can moderate discussion threads across their entire website from a single interface.

The feature also allows end users to post their comments on their Facebook activity streams, and thus share the comments with friends there as well. Their friends in turn can respond to the comments from their Facebook interfaces and have them appear on the external site.

Users don't necessarily have to be logged into Facebook to use the box to post comments. Publishers can offer visitors the option of logging in with other non-Facebook accounts, the company said.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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