Facebook’s commenting system is about to get a whole lot more democratic.
Though not officially announced by the company, the new system can be seen underneath the latest official Facebook blog post and is already available to developers as a social plugin.
As can be seen in the image above (courtesy of All Facebook), Facebook has added (albeit subtly) a much-requested feature: a “Dislike” button in the form of a red down arrow. But don’t call it that. Facebook has resisted implementing a Dislike button for the most obvious reason (to only encourage positive feelings on the site, not negative ones). The new feedback buttons, “Vote this up” represented by a green arrow and “Vote this down” in red, skirt the issue by falling back on a system already successful on social bookmarking site Reddit as well as on YouTube.
In addition to up and down arrows, the new system displays a commenter’s network--location (e.g. Portland, Oregon), school (e.g. MIT), or organization (e.g. United States Army)--to the right of their name. To the right of the listed network appears a count totaling the user’s vote score for that comment (up arrows add one, down arrows subtract one).
Finally, Facebook’s new commenting system allows for nested conversations, meaning users can now reply directly to comments on a post. As of now, nested conversations can only go one level deep, which that eliminates the need for a more complex sorting system.
Facebook has been quietly updating a few different features related to posts and comments on the site. Besides this new commenting system, users have noticed that, in Groups, posts with new comments or Likes float to the top of the feed, instead of staying cemented in chronological order as they do in the news feed. Whether the same rules will apply to comments remains to be seen.
Another cool feature seen in Groups is the real-time updating of posts with new comments and Likes, so the user doesn't have to refresh the page.
Unless this just happens to just be the site testing out only a potential new commenting system (unlikely), Facebook will probably be slowly rolling out the new features to the rest of its site and users over the course of the next few weeks. Once the system hits the news feed, it will be interesting to see how users react. Will we be seeing an epic backlash as with many other large-scale Facebook changes or will users happily embrace the opportunity to “Dislike” their friends’ posts?