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

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.


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.

To know when the next article is published, please subscribe to new articles using your Email below or follow me on Twitter.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to receive notification about new posts.

  • BrianJones

    Interesting how no-one has commented. It is also good for people who don’t have facebook.

  • Eran Galperin

    Great point! I’ll add it in

  • Gergely

    Facebook comments are better because it keeps away trolls, most of the time.

  • Pete

    I agree.

  • Elhana

    Trolls have another account for trolling, on the other hand I don’t use FB and quite a few times it stopped me from leaving a comment.

  • curious reader

    Why do you then have a “share on facebook” button on this?

  • Eran Galperin

    Read the ending paragraph.

  • Eran Galperin

    I’ll quote something I saw somewhere else – “You must be new to Facebook” ;)

    I’ve seen many facebook troll comments, even with a real profile. It stops nothing. More important to even have comments in the first place – worry about trolls when you have a decent bulk of comments.

  • Gergely

    Fair enough. What about evil spambots?
    I know there are several possibilities like mollom or disqus.
    Also you don’t have to send your comment to your facebook profile but you will be notified by facebook if you have a reply on your comment.
    The last thing what you mentioned is LinkedIn for professional purposes but I think that company will die soon.

  • Eran Galperin

    I use disqus right here, and I like it overall. When I didn’t, I had akismet active – it blocks 99.9% of spam. You can even use both in tandem.

  • gary

    And believe it not – some of us don’t actually have a facebook account……

  • lucian303

    Absolutely. There’s a lot of us that refuse the FB ecosystem. Not to mention when FB goes down your site goes down with it.

  • Al_1978

    I had to create a empty facebook account to comment in some sites that forced me to. I don’t like Facebook as a social network and quit a long ago, but I still have this “fake” account to be part of the group. Bad!

  • Mandeep Janjua

    It’s optional to share your comment on your news feed

  • Lasse Boisen Andersen

    If the site is targeting mainstream users/consumers and they are indeed acting as a personal individual when commenting, it might make sense. For instance when shopping around (and given that the products/information isn’t private).

  • llbbl

    I agree with your reasoning. One reason why I like Disqus. With millions of fake facebook accounts, it doesn’t do much to stop the motivated trolls.

  • Chris Reilly

    Facebook comments means less spam and more comments due to less auth. hurdles. It works exceeding well in that regard. Futhermore, it never requires having the post appear in one’s news feed. But as a publisher, wouldn’t you want the additional traffic social exposure to comments can bring?

  • Testy Testerton

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure most implementations make sharing to facebook optional.

  • Eran Galperin

    As I wrote in the article, that is just one reason. I’s rather use the comments for it’s main purpose – having a conversation with the readers. If someone refrains from commenting because of that (like I and most of the commentators here usually do, that’s a loss for me.

    I have social sharing buttons if people want to share, it shouldn’t be a package deal.

  • Pyrodogg

    I like these particular share buttons. Mind sharing your source?

  • Jules

    I use Facebook Disconnect to avoid Facebook tracking me around the web. As a result, I don’t even get to see comments on Techcrunch anymore, let alone the chance to leave them. Huge disadvantage.

  • sanguit

    Interesting points. Since you mention a post from my blog (Reference:, I’d say I’m experimenting with it because a leading blog where I guest-blog recently saw a spike in commenting because of FB comments. Moreover, one always has the option not to have the comment published to their feed while commenting.

    BTW, If you had any comments on the post, I’d love to discuss. Blogging, as you mention, has the discussion as its reward. :)

  • Joe Horvath

    Completely agree. I deactivated my FB account a while back for various reasons. Having done so, not only am I prohibited from commenting on many articles/blog posts/stories, but apparently many companies would consider me to be a psychopath (

  • PickedName

    True story. I usually like to comment on the stories I read, but when the website asks me to connect with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., I just don’t leave a comment at all.

    Oh, and I don’t like this one as well. I will just enter random@e-mail.anyway, so why is it mandatory?
    Please enter both a name and email address.

  • Eran Galperin

    I really liked that post and wanted to leave a comment, but ultimately refrained because of the Facebook comments.

    If you remove it, let me know – I’ll be glad to leave a comment there, as the subject is very close to my heart.

  • Eran Galperin

    I made those custom, using jquery and a design my colleague used for my startup. I plan on putting a bunch of those on github soon

  • Pingback: Don’t Mix Business And Personal – Why Facebook Comments Is A Bad Idea For Your Site « techfounder | facebook in the news()

  • jz

    Agreed. If Facebook, etc is required I wont comment either.

    What is worst is that at work Facebook is blocked so on some websites I can’t even see the comment section. Not 100% sure but I think usatoday is one of those sites.

  • Peter Chang

    Points 1 and 3 seem invalid. In all likelihood, your parents/friend wouldn’t see your comment regarding professional content due to how they filter content that they will see. Considering they are your personal connections and not professional, I doubt they would see it. Or, if they did, it would be filtered out over time as they choose to not interact with the content (assuming they have a learning algorithm which it appears they do based on what I see on my feed).

    If the author/site put the Facebook comment widget on their site, then in all likelihood they will be notified if you do comment. That would be the point of the widget. But, even if they weren’t, do alternative commenting systems guarantee that they would more than the FB widget?

  • Eran Galperin

    Not all facebook comment widgets allow posting without posting to the stream. Regardless, many are not aware of this distinction and will not comment even when the option to avoid positing to Facebook exist.

    Regarding your second point – you don’t expect visitors to your site to know how the facebook comments widget works, do you? having never used it myself, it looks like a stream of facebook posts which is detached from the site – it looks like it’s on Facebook. It raises the suspicion it’s only there to get social traction, instead of engaging the author.

  • KH

    In my experience it also discourages critiques or criticisms in some contexts, and those who end up posting are much more sycophantic. For instance, TechCrunch used to have some comments that would be critical of an idea, or VC firm, or new startup, but after putting in the FB commenting system those went away. This greatly degrades the discussion into yes-men, and gives the impression of validation because anyone who disagrees just doesn’t post.

  • Eran Galperin

    Very good point – I stopped commenting on TC altogether since they switched to FB comments.

  • Eran Galperin

    That’s not the point – first off, not all widgets have that option. Second, visitors might not be aware of that option, and just avoid commenting when seeing the widget. And third, that’s not the only reason not to use it in some circumstances. Read the article.

  • phwd

    Umm, that is a point, you have it as a bullet in your post. “Not all widgets have that option”. Wrong. There is only one Facebook Comments Plugin, hiding the option to select/delect share to feed is against policy.

    Saying “Read the article” is quite the snark, how would he know to say it’s optional if he didn’t read it.

  • Eran Galperin

    Maybe the widget has changed, but I have certainly seen widgets in the past without that checkbox. I wasn’t being snark – commenting to only one of the bullet points as if it refutes the article says to me the guy just didn’t read the whole thing.

  • Flavio Martins

    +1. I don’t comment on them because I don’t want my Facebook timeline littered with “commented on XYZ…”.

    Also, I think that FB comments gets used because authors believe that it’ll be easier for the audience to comment and maybe be more apt to actually leave a comment.

    As a blogger, I know first hand how little readers will actually comment on articles so I can see how it’s tempting to throw FB comments in there and make it a little easier since so many people are connected on FB.

    But at the end of the day…just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

  • JLei

    Nobody claimed it refuted the whole article. He was correcting one datum you relied on. For all we know, the original commenter could think this article was absolutely brilliant except for that minor fact-check.

  • phwd

    There is only *one* plugin which is at Best to back up (the absence of the share option) where you see this occurs, so that people that are against it, like me, can report it to Facebook Dev Team.

    As to “It’s optional to share your comment on your news feed” there is no way anyone can see that as refuting your whole article. It’s a simple comment responding to one of your points, not one bit of subtle refutal in there.

    “Read the article” is at best rudely brief (because he did read it) at worst snark. Would have been much better to highlight what portion of the article you were trying to make known to him.

    The only thing I would agree with in your article is that not being notified sucks as it requires a FB.Event.subscribe to comments.create event. This isn’t something the regular website owner thinks about, but assumes it is built-in, as an option.

    As to separating personal and business/family, I use a Facebook fan page that represents my internet identity with all the proper links (Stack Overflow, Twitter, Blog) to validate it. Haven’t encountered any issues since. Again the Facebook Comments Plugin loses out in such that you cannot have a certain page profile to comment as by default.

    If you are placing Facebook comments on tech/programming sites, then without a doubt you may see friction. That’s a given. Until you can say same for other areas of interest cooking, sports, etc then I am convinced of your argument within the realm of the tech pseudonym favoured communities.

  • Eran Galperin

    He posted the same comment on Hacker News before he posted it here, and there he wrote “It’s optional to share your comment on your news feed so I don’t know why author is hating FB comments.”

    It would only seem I’m “hating” if you don’t read the article thoroughly or choose to ignore it.

  • jobjod

    so true. FB is going down.

  • ___-____

    Just found out this one in hacker news. Could not agree more.

  • Ling Bao

    I work on the developer products team at Facebook. We considered many of your points when building the comments product and made a few explicit decisions as a result that should help with the issues you raised. First, posting back to Facebook is optional (uncheck “post to Facebook”). Second, our comments plugin works without a Facebook account (Use AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc). We appreciate the feedback – it’s clear that some of these product and design decisions might not be obvious enough.

  • Ryan Merket

    Can you please show me a Facebook comment widget that doesn’t allow you to turn off sharing your comment to your stream? It’s agains the Facebook Platform TOS and something Facebook takes very seriously.

  • jbax

    Disqus on the other hand is pretty sweet

  • none

    what an irony, you allow people to comment using facebook.

  • Eran Galperin

    I really don’t remember where I saw any Facebook comments widget recently, aside from the site that triggered this post. It’s possible the widget changed from then and now always includes that checkbox.

    If you can find where it says in the Facebook ToS that such a widget cannot exist, I will make the effort of tracking down that widget.

  • Eran Galperin

    I’m not sure how that is ironic – if people choose to comment using the Facebook login through disqus, that’s perfectly fine. My point was that having it as the only option will deter many people (including myself) from commenting.

  • Mat Mullen

    @erangalp:disqus You can also turn on Akismet within Disqus for an extra layer of spam filtering.

  • Eran Galperin

    That was my meaning about using both in tandem

  • Ryan Merket

    I’m sorry, but this entire post reeks of wildly whining with little fact checking.

    1) Uncheck “Post to my Timeline” before you click “Post” within the Facebook Comments plugin. Please don’t respond and say, “well, other plugins don’t have this” — BS. It’s against the Facebook Platform TOS and not having it will get you banned from the Facebook Platform. If there really is a plugin that doesn’t have this option, prove it.

    2) Change your privacy settings so that the general public can’t see anything but your profile photo and name (same data they see in the comments).

    3) I can’t tell that if I write a comment on your blog, or any other WordPress blog for that matter, if my comments are going to notify the author. This is a moot point and seems something you scrounged together to have 3 points instead of 2.