Facebook is preparing to launch a completely revamped commenting system for third-party sites in the next few weeks.
CNet's Caroline McCarthy has reported that the system would allow Facebook's software to power commenting on high-profile sites and blogs.
Facebook is already present in the comments section of a lot of sites. Blogs or other Web sites can connect to Facebook by integrating the developer API. "Social commenting" is also available to build into a site as a widget.
Users can also set up alerts that are posted on their Facebook walls, advertising when they have commented. McCarthy's sources said that the new platform is a deeper expansion of these existing services. Facebook will handle all aspects of the new system, including the log-in, posting, and cross-promoting the comments on other users' pages. McCarthy also said that comments will likely be promoted on the fan pages for media outlets, and that the "like" button will be a prominent feature of the platform.
"We're testing an updated plugin that leverages authenticity and social relevancy to increase distribution," a Facebook spokesperson told PC Mag. "We're testing the plugin on our Facebook Blog and Developer Blog but have no further details to share at this time."
The concept is similar to that of TimesPeople, the commenting system the New York Times has been using in recent years.
Additionally, comments on People Magazine's Web site are already handled by Facebook. All Things D's Peter Kafka said. Facebook will be courting other major media companies to sign on with the new system.
Interestingly enough, Facebook's program could allow users to connect with Google, Yahoo, or Twitter usernames. It's a bit surprising, considering Facebook's relationship with both Google and Twitter has been rocky in the past.
Tensions between Facebook and Google have been slowly building over the past several months. After Google barred Facebook from its Contacts API, Facebook fired back by posting a loophole around the blockage.
On top of that, in November, Facebook introduced what some interpreted as a challenge to Gmail, a retooled messaging system that combines email, SMS, IM, and other messaging services.
Facebook has also blocked a Twitter application that finds friends by browsing through a user's Facebook friend list.
This new system could take a bite out of the business of commenting start-ups like Echo and Disqus. McCarthy's sources pointed out that the revamped platform is in direct competition with these newer, smaller companies.
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