Facebook Testing New Comment Rank Feature

If you’ve got a business page on Facebook, you may have noticed lately that the most popular comments on your posts are sticking to the top. What’s the deal? Facebook is trying out a new top-ranked comment feature.

Based on Like and Reply popularity, certain user messages will hang out at the top of comments, increasing visibility. There are definitely some pros and some cons to to this feature, though, because as the saying goes – not all press is good press.

Pros

First and foremost, the best of the best comments will not get buried amidst a sea of a non-influential statements. You want your fans to be able to see valuable conversation taking place, and this feature will push those right to the surface. Another pro to consider is that such a ranking will incite better conversation overall. Your fans and users will want to get to that top spot, so they’ll end up making more influential statements that will, in whole, make your page a richer community.

Cons

Negative comments will also be pushed to the top. Say you run an online store, and you’ve had a bit of a shipping issue right before Christmas. If users take to your Facebook page to complain they’ll simply Like similar comments and Reply with their own gripes, bringing all of the negative jabber to the front. While this will set you up with the golden opportunity to respond and quell the fuss, if your users are angry they’re not going to Like your peacemaking comment enough to bring it to the top. Thus, it may take some extra effort and clean-up posts to take care of the mess presented in your post comments.

The Verdict

While the intentions behind this feature are good, and the implications for marketers are positive, there are enough cons that make ranked comments seem like a flop. A potential fix to the problem of negative comments rising to the top would be to implement a positive/negative voting feature, that would float the negative statements towards the bottom and push the positive ones up – though such a feature would propel Facebook into Youtube and Reddit territory. Facebook should also consider the ability to filter comments, so that users and page owners can see comments with the most Likes vs. comments with the most Replies, cutting back on issues of visible negativity. Then again, Facebookers generally want things to be simple and quick, so are they really going to spend the extra time filtering through comments on their own?

Innovation and change are not only needed in the realm of Social Media venues, but they are inevitable – and Facebook is no exception. In my opinion this feature is a bad idea and I hope that they do not force it upon all users after a period of testing. Should certain page owners want to implement ranked comments, Facebook can simply provide it as an option in the page’s setting so that it can be flipped on and off at the owner’s discretion.

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