Facebook comments: Fewer and better, or just fewer?

Alistair Croll and Sean Power examine the impact of Facebook's embedded comments tool.

Alistair Croll and Sean Power recently reviewed how embedded Facebook comments affect the number of comments on posts. They used TechCrunch as a test case, comparing comment totals, Facebook likes, Google Buzz and Twitter activity one week before and one week after TechCrunch implemented the FB comment plugin.


On first blush, the numbers might be surprising, and even a bit disconcerting. Croll and Power’s analysis showed:

  • For all posts, implementing FB Comments caused a 42% reduction in the total amount of comments, and a 38% reduction in comments per post.
  • For the average post, implementing FB Comments caused a 58% reduction in the total amount of comments and a 56% reduction in the average amount of comments per post.

(Note: For the “average” analysis, they discarded the data from the top and bottom 5 percent.)

The results also indicated, however, that Google Buzz increased 30 percent overall and Facebook likes increased in total and average analyses as well. While the reduction in comments may appear to be a bad thing, one TechCrunch reader (not at all involved in Croll and Power’s analysis study), noticed the change post-FB comment plugin and was thrilled with the reduction in spam and troll comments.

As reader engagement not only requires real readers with real thoughts, but also improves based on the quality of engagement, perhaps forcing commenters to log in with a real Facebook persona improves interaction in a quality-over-quantity kind of way.

You can read Croll and Power’s complete report here and download their data here.

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