With over one billion active users, there is no denying that Facebook is the largest social network on the planet, but if you compared the web based experience today with the experience that actually first launched with Facebook back in 2004 then it would be barely recognizable. Like any popular site or service, Facebook has evolved over time to meet increasing demand and has added – and sometimes removed – features that they believe will be beneficial to users. It seems that the latest addition to the social network could come in the form of a threaded comments system that stands a good chance of causing chaos on profiles if it gets through the user testing stage.
We’ve recently learned that the engineers over in Palo Alto have been tinkering with – and testing – a new sound based alert system that is designed to give an audible ping whenever a message is received or someone posts something directly to a user’s timeline. It remains to be seen whether or not that idea manages to make it into the live Facebook website, considering it would probably drive most people insane, but it looks like the ability to reply to individual comments on a person’s status might be with us soon.
As things currently stand, the only way to actually meaningfully reply to someone who has commented on a status is to leave your own comment and then tag that person in it by typing their name and selecting the profile from the pre-populated list. However, that particular system has serious flaws in it, due to the fact that you can only tag people who currently share a connection with you via an accepted friendship request. The new system would override that current method and allow users to post comments directly to other comments on a status.
Facebook themselves have actually confirmed that they are in the middle of a testing phase with this functionality. Meredith Chin from Facebook has stated that the company "is testing a new way to add comments to a post on Facebook" and that users will be "able to reply to another comment as well as the original post". Some people may see this as a positive move from Facebook that will bring a little bit more power to the user and also open the levels of interaction between users, while others may see it as the next step before liking the like of a like on the site.
Regardless of personal opinion, there is no guarantee that this feature will see the light of day. but keep an eye out on those statuses just in case.