Don’t Mix Business And Personal – Why Facebook Comments Is A Bad Idea For Your Site

Business Development Startups The Webs August 15th, 2012 by Eran Galperin

I like to leave comments on articles and blog posts I find interesting, and interact with the author. However, if the only option to leave a comment is through Facebook comments, I probably won't use it for the following reasons:

  • My professional persona is separate from my personal persona. I don't want my friends and family reading my comments on "How To Make A Two-Sided Business, One-Sided". It's not relevant for them, and I'd like to keep my feed clean of those messages.
  • I don't want people I interact with for business / professional reasons to view or connect to my Facebook profile. I have a linkedIn profile for those purposes.
  • I have no idea if the author is notified when I post using Facebook comments. One of the main reasons I comment on an article is to start a conversation with the author on the subject. If I can't tell if he's even notified, I probably won't bother.

I understand why people think adding Facebook comments will help drive traffic to their site. Perhaps in some contexts it makes sense, but if you were wondering why no one is commenting on your articles, consider if better engaging your readers is more important to you than polluting their social feed. Also - visitors might not even have a Facebook account, or they are not logged-in at the moment. Don't make this a barrier for engagement.

If people do feel they want to share your article on Facebook, use social sharing buttons, like the ones you see on this blog. Don't force commenting and sharing as a bundle package to readers.

Edit:

After reading and responding to the comments below, I understand it was not completely clear what my stance is. First, I'd like to make it clear I have nothing against Facebook, or its comment widget. I was questioning the appropriateness of having the comment widget on sites / blogs where I read for professional reasons, and would like to keep it separate from my personal Facebook profile.

Keep it separate doesn't mean just that my friends on Facebook will read it, but also whether other readers of the blog will have access to my Facebook profile, which I'd rather avoid.

In addition, I was writing the post from the viewpoint of a site visitor who's been frustrated by having no recourse other than using Facebook comments - not from the viewpoint of the publisher. Content publishers have their own objectives which might not align with mine, and it might be perfectly fine with them that I don't leave a comment on their site. There's nothing wrong with that.

To sum it up - if you care about people who want a separation between their Facebook profiles and their professional reading, you should think twice about using Facebook comments in your site.

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  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    Do you really expect people to go through your checklist before using Facebook comments? I expect they will just avoid commenting all together when they see it

  • phwd

    https://developers.facebook.com/policy/#integration

    IV.4.d. You must not obscure or cover elements of our social plugins, such as the Like button or Like box plugin.

    I asked you for proof before, but either my comment didn’t go through or you didn’t approve it :/

  • timrpeterson

    fb commenting is a lethal mistake

  • timrpeterson

    disqus will supplant fb commenting

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    I didn’t moderate any comments on this post, I assure you.

    That clause doesn’t say anything about a widget having not having the checkbox natively – I never said it was a custom modification in an attempt to hide the facebook interface – what I meant was that last I saw the widget, it didn’t have that checkbox. Probably Facebook added it after complaints from users.

  • timrpeterson

    ditto, deleted my fb acct too

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket

    https://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/policy/policy_checklist/english/ – -”Social Channels” last bullet.

    “App does not automatically post Stream stories on a user’s behalf and instead obtains consent by providing users with an option to click a button or check a box that clearly explains their content will be shared.”

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    This is not an app, it’s a native facebook widget. Those terms only apply to app developers, not facebook itself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket

    This checklist is for you. Mind you, that not everyone has this list of requirements before using Facebook comments. Looking at the number of comments on my blog and company blog pre-Facebook Comments and post-Facebook Comments, I would say you are in the minority here.

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    I might be, though I doubt it considering the reaction so far. Even if I am in the minority, I think I’m allowed to have my own opinion on my blog.

  • http://www.spoilertv.com DarkUFO

    @erangalp:disqus
    Same here. Never comment on any site/blog that does not use Disqus now. I like how all my comments that I’ve posted are on a single dashboard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket

    Wrong. Anytime you put a widget on your site you have to create an app_id. That app_id is subject to ALL of the platform policies. For context I used to be on the Facebook Platform team… Here’s an example of the native/Facebook created widget running in the wild:https://skitch.com/rmerket/ec4

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    Alright, now I understand where this defensive stance comes from… if you say that such a widget never existed, I’ll believe it. I’m positive I saw it in the past, but I could be wrong. It doesn’t change any of my points, however.

    Please note that I’m not anti-facebook, or anti Facebook-comments widget, only against using it in specific situations where I feel it’s not appropriate and prevents people (myself included) from joining the conversation for our own reasons (with which you may disagree, but you cannot dismiss).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket

    So why not do a blog post on how to allow people to login to other service providers using the official Facebook Comments plugin? https://skitch.com/rmerket/ec4cp/easypromos-for-timeline-appbistro-facebook-app-directory-facebook-timeline-apps-and-business-tools

  • phwd

    Again, there are many people asking for an honest example of where you saw this. The checkbox has been natively there for a good few months (http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/472/ ) That post was in March 2011, so more than a year. Please show this website you speak of.

    And as such removing it or in other words the user doesn’t know about it or in other words *it is obscured* gets back right in line with the clause.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket

    Where did I say you can’t have your own opinion?

  • http://www.spoilertv.com DarkUFO

    Some other small points.

    1) Facebook is blocked at a lot companies which makes it impossible to read/leave comments.

    2) Not everyone has Facebook and thereby they feel excluded

    3) There is no central way to see all the comments I’ve made across numerous sites

    4) I could see no RSS feed for comment threads using Facebook.

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    You see, you can add constructive comments if you choose to. So far you’ve only been attacking my position without offering alternatives.

    I was voicing my opinion as a visitor to a site that used Facebook comments which prevented me (for my own reasons which are listed in the post) to comment. Not as a publisher who knows the ins and outs of configuring Facebook comments (which I don’t). That site didn’t offer any alternative sign-in options.

  • http://www.spoilertv.com DarkUFO

    @facebook-832465071:disqus Really?

    With 80 Million Plus fake accounts on Facebook I would not be so sure.

    Using Disqus which uses Askimit on our blog Spam is almost completely gone. And we can very easily Block/Ban users/words/links.

    IMHO Disqus is the best commenting system to eliminate spam, Not Facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Merket/136300045 Ryan Merket
  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    Your previous comment implies that my opinion is not important since I am the “minority”. Your other comments as well try to dismiss my arguments as “whiny” and “incorrect”. You need to consider this an opinion piece on a blog, and there’s nothing technically incorrect in the article. I was writing it from the viewpoint of a site visitor, not an expert on Facebook comments.

  • phwd

    You still haven’t shown this website that has this, in addition the option to post to Facebook has been available for at least a year.

    P.S. I had wrote two long comments that have been ate up by your comment system, too bothered to rewrite them again. I am pretty sure it’s in your queue or spam.

  • http://tomakefast.com/source2 pjbrunet

    Just use WordPress comments and keep your data. Disqus is not running a charity.

  • http://tomakefast.com/source2 pjbrunet

    And let me tell you something. I know from experience these comments are worth many thousands of dollars if you know how to throw up some Adsense or an affiliate program. When you use a widget for comments, you’re essentially flushing money down the drain.

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    You were right, those comments were caught in the spam filter. I released them, so they are published now.

    I will make an effort to find that widget later, though it’s possible that the current version of it simply does not have that option (and you said it’s been like that for over year, so I guess that search will be futile now). In any case, that is not the point of my article at all (it’s not even mentioned in the main article).

  • http://www.binpress.com Eran Galperin

    Thanks for adding your input here, Lin, it’s always interesting to hear from the developers of the product. Can you verify whether an earlier version of the widget shipped without the checkbox (or whether it was optional previously)? I’m sure I saw that but it could be just that I’m used to seeing that comment box from Facebook itself that I just didn’t see it was slightly different.

  • http://twitter.com/MyEzApp My Easy App

    same here. this article has a very good point.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    Good points. It is also sad to hear that Disqus is blocked by some company firewalls and some schools (LightSpeed Systems specifically).

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    Disqus tells you that you own your comments, and they don’t sell data to advertisers. If Disqus was to ever turn into something like the FB comment system, then I’d have to ditch them.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    Another point to add is that TechCrunch used to use Disqus as their comment system, but then they ditched them for FB’s socal connect comment system. Someone must have been seriously high over there when they decided to do that, because Disqus is flat out better then FB. They even allow you to log in using FB.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    Disqus’ moderation tools are so good.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    Instead you should pester those sites via a contact form of some sort to switch to another comment system.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    You still need to add more login options, and even if I do connect with something such as Windows Live, FB demands too much access to my account and personal info. I only use Disqus for commenting because it does not demand me to give up all of my privacy.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    I love using Disqus. FB commenting is terrible.

  • http://abdallahalhakim.tumblr.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Facebook is my least favourite medium for posting comments but I still do it anyways. If i don’t want the comment to appear on my FB page then I uncheck the box for that. However, sometimes, the comment might be relevant to my facebook page so I keep that box checked. My biggest problem with FB comments is that it forces people to get a FB account. I understand that many people already have one but it shouldn’t be a perquisite for commenting

  • Executor89

    Finally people are realizing facebook seamless integration is a violation of privacy rights and usability

  • lumpygravy2

    The social graph is total BS. All these gullible people will regret their actions some day. Farcebook is a pox and I will have nothing to do with it.

    Glad to see a professional say what needs to be said about that garbage. Remember AOL, same deal.

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    What if they gave them to google?

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    You mean like indexing comments? If you are referring to that, then yes, I guess Google is indexing comments. But isn’t that what everyone wants?

  • http://engag.io/ William Mougayar

    Isn’t that similar to Facebook indexing your Facebook Comments too? (I’m not taking sides with either or saying it’s bad- just trying to understand what users want)

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ncr Michael Hazell

    The new Disqus 2012 is SEO certified by Google, so Google can index comments. It has to with SEO. They detailed this on one of their posts on the Disqus blog.

  • Shan

    Great point

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Heads Up: That URL now has Disqus for comments.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    If you have your own site, you might as well as embed a list of all of these points if you have the Facebook comment system. Using Disqus is just a simpler way to do comments. No reason to really not use it unless you hate them.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Though there is a bug with Akismet right now that allows some legit comments to be detected as false positives.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    Can you shoot me an email when you do so?

  • TJ JR

    Nice

  • RP

    I used to have FB comments on my blog, and I’ve always had some doubts in the back of my mind, I think I’m switching it Disqus after reading this article