Facebook announced late December it is testing a feature that would enable administrators of Pages to respond to user comments and messages privately. According to TPM, Pages, which are profiles limited to ‘official representatives of an organisation, business, celebrity, or band’, is only available to some administrators in Asia currently.
The pros are evident – Business owners/Brands are able to take user interactions to a whole new level with more direct engagement. Administrators will be able to respond to comments and questions discretely, having better control over content that is posted on their walls. This is particularly helpful in ‘reducing the airing of dirty laundry’, as described by Jake Wengroff, when angry users communicate their complaints on a brand’s wall.
Users, on the other hand, have more incentive to pose questions or feedback to businesses without the fear of revealing personal information on a very public forum. The ingenious anti-spam aspect that has been integrated into this feature, where communication has to be initiated by customers, also keeps users at ease that they won’t be receiving unsolicited, pesky messages without their consent.
The downside is, Pages owners rely greatly on wall activity (such as likes, comments and shares) in order to garner news feed visibility. Providing users the option of directing dialogue from public to private might imply a decline in publicity generated towards a business. Another negative implication, observed by Brennon Slattery of PCWorld, concerns the ‘(muting) of problems’ when business owners selectively privitise users’ feedback, choosing to keep negative comments hidden from other users.
We’re pretty sure we’ve not covered all the pros and cons to the possible actions Facebook may take over business page private messaging; so tell us, what do you expect will happen if this feature is launched?