Yesterday came another announcement from Facebook regarding improvements to the management of user comments, although this time not comments made on Facebook but on an owner’s site, via Facebook connect.
The Comments plug-in for other sites has been around for while, but the interesting thing about this enhancement is that because it uses the idea of Facebook accounts being used as a universal sign-in (which depending on your viewpoint is good/useful/more accountable/easier or bad/anti-privacy/anti-free speech), the user’s authority and kudos which they’ve acquired in ALL of their online activity (at least all of their Facebook account-associated activity) is used to decide whether their comment is positive or negative, to be promoted or to be downgraded, to be taken seriously or filtered out as spam. So moderation is happening automatically, based not on keywords, etc. but on the user’s previous online behaviour, not just on the individual site, but across all of the web. So you can’t ‘act out’ in one space and then move elsewhere leaving it all behind. ‘Bad’ behaviour will follow you…
On the Pages front though, there is now a ‘blocklist’ functionality, which was brought in as part of the recent switch to the new Page format. The blocklist allows Page admins to enter their own blacklist words and phrases, with comments containing those being ‘greyed’ out, so that normal users can’t see them, and posts being moved to the ‘Hidden’ view of the wall, which is only ever accessible to admins. Admins can then review the greyed-out and hidden posts and comments, and either leave them there (as normal users can’t see them), permanently delete them, or choose to unhide them and send them back to the visible ‘Wall’ view.
I recently also read about a few admisn who have been using the new blocklist to effectively create pre-moderation – by adding common words like ‘and’, ‘the’, ‘it’, an admin can send most comments/posts to the hidden view, ready for their review, to approve or not. Clever, but in my opinion not that advisable for most pages!
As well as the free-text ‘blocklist’ there is also a pre-set Profanity Filter – which admins can set to ‘None’, ‘Medium’, or ‘Strong’. However, Facebook haven’t released any guidance on how these parameters have been decided, except that it’s based on the ‘words Facebook users most commonly flag’.
Page owners should be experimenting with these to see what works for them – but then even filtered comments and posts will still need human review.