In March of 2011, TechCrunch implemented the just-announced Facebook Comments functionality on their blog. The Facebook Comments Box is an official plugin from Facebook which allows users who are logged into Facebook to instantly comment on a blog post or article; no registration needed. Adding a Facebook Comments Box to a website is simple, it provides a visual style that can work with any blog design, and it can have users share their posts on Facebook, which leverages the commenter’s friends to drive more traffic to the blog,.
I first began commenting on TechCrunch in July of the same year, mostly to test out the full functionality of Facebook Comments, after having spent a lot of time experimenting with Disqus and Gawker’s custom comment system (I talk about it here). During that time, my comments began to make me rather infamous, both in good ways, and surprisingly bad. (once, a well-respected entrepreneur messaged me saying “I’ve talked to VCs and they’ve said they will never invest in you because of your comments. FYI.”)
Fast forward to 2012. Other blogs on the Aol blogging network, such as Engadget, Joystiq, and TechCrunch itself, have decided to migrate to LiveFyre, another blog commenting system which allows readers to comment using their social identities, in addition to a few flashy Web 2.0 features. I figured it was a matter of time until TechCrunch implemented it themselves. And in January 2013, they did.
At first, I thought I would like the change. Facebook Comments has their own problems that a switch to Livefyre could solve. I was wrong. The stated reasons for the change were “we want more comments,” but a large amount of low-value comments (and images), with no way to identify good ones, along with the increased hassle of commenting, will end up backfiring. I’m honestly afraid that the switch from Facebook Comments could kill quality comments on TechCrunch completely.