New Facebook Feature Groups Comments on Page Tags
September 02, 2011
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
You may have noticed by now that Facebook (News - Alert), a.k.a. The Company That Can’t Sit Still And Knows You’re Going To Complain About Whatever They Do Differently, has added a new type of story to its News Feed.
According to “Friending Facebook” blogger Emil Protalinski, “if more than one of your friends post about the same topic, and it has a Page on the social network, the posts will be grouped under a Posted About story, even if your friends don’t explicitly tag (News - Alert) the Page.”
Hard to imagine that this was the most-demanded feature upgrade all of us Facebookers were clamoring for. Maybe this reporter is unusual, but I can’t remember ever caring about, or even wondering which topics are popular among my Facebook friends.
As Protalinski says, “Facebook is using natural language processing on status updates as well as the headlines of posted links to figure out if a topic mentioned has a corresponding Page, and then searches to see if your other friends have done so as well.”
Protalinski spells it out with graphics on his page, but basically, if Dmitry and Abhinai mention something about Harry Potter on their status updates, but don’t tag the actual Harry Potter page in their posts, if mutual friend Ken does tag the Page, all three posts are grouped and tagged to the Page.
It boosts Page visibility, which is about the only reason we can see for the change. But hey, it’s Mark Zuckerberg’s (News - Alert) world.
“The Posted About stories let Facebook link to Pages without actually changing a user’s original update, even if users don’t know how to tag Pages (using the @ operator), do not want to do so, or don’t Like the Page related to the topic they are discussing,” Protalinski says, indirectly alluding to the fact that Facebook does what Facebook does for the good of Facebook. If you don’t like the new feature, well, tough beans. Go back to MySpace (News - Alert) and shut up.
Earlier this week TMC’s Beecher Tuttle wrote that when Facebook launched its “Places” check-in feature last year, many thought that it would lead to the demise of established social location services like Foursquare and Gowalla.
However, Facebook has so far struggled to make Places a mainstream feature. As of late last year, only 6 percent of users had even tried out the check-in service. Meanwhile, competing offerings like Foursquare have continued to grow exponentially, adding as many as 25,000 new users each day.
So Facebook is scrapping the mobile-only Places feature, the company announced, and is replacing it with more general functionality. Instead of having a dedicated check-in feed, users will be given the option of adding their location to status updates, photos and other posts, regardless of what device they are on.
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Edited by Juliana Kenny