Facebook says the new Comments plug-in is proving hugely popular, despite concerns about it removing anonymity
The system requires users to log in with Facebook, removing the option of anonymity. Not everyone liked this . Was Facebook stifling the authentic voice of the Internet - or helping sites improve the quality of their comments, the San Francisco Chronicle asked.
The answer is in the numbers: "Many partners have reported significant increases in referral traffic and engagement," says Facebook in a blog post.
The quality of comments is up, too: "Notably, we’ve seen the plug-in facilitate more relevant and authentic comments across news, sport and content sites."
Facebook gives examples:
â–ª SB Nation has seen referral traffic from Facebook increase 400% for their 20 sites with the updated plugin. They’ve also found that the product has had a positive impact on community interaction and traffic.
â–ª Sporting News president and publisher Jeff Price said the Comments plug-in had improved the quality of comments on the site, which prior to the plugin were "embarrassing at best.”
â–ª Townsquare Media, operating 170 sites for local US radio stations, saw both referral traffic and engagement increase as a result of the plug-in. More than 45% of Facebook referrals are new visitors, and there has been a 10x increase in the number of comments per site.
â–ª Examiner.com saw referral traffic from Facebook more than double. The number of comments on articles increased, as well as the overall time spent on their sites.
Facebook says: "The early trends support what we’ve seen on Facebook and with many of our platform tools. People share, read, and generally engage more with any type of content when it's surfaced through friends and people they trust. Authentic commenting online creates a more meaningful conversation -- one that is more like the conversations we have in the real world."