Following the release of its new comment threading feature, Facebook has updated its API, to help brands keep closer tabs on customer comments.

A Better Monitoring Tool

Keeping track of who is commenting and posting on a business, brand or product's Facebook page can sometimes be a time consuming and tiresome task. With the new comment threading feature, Facebook aimed to improve a user’s ability to track and monitor comments. While through an updated API,  the network expands on what the feature can do by giving developers and companies more control over how comments are viewed through Comment API and FQL tables.

To view certain information with a Graph API, a user has to enter a code with the object or comment ID and other data like a filtering code, so for example, only the top comments are seen. For the FQL, the request that is made includes information such as the ID number, the number of likes the comment has received and the text in the comment.

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There are three types of comments views that can be requested:

  • Top Level Comments: Top level comments are the thread's most popular comments with the most likes or replies. These are the comments a person first sees when visiting a page. Top level comments can’t be replies to another a comment, but rather are a reply to what was initially posted.
  • Replies: As its name suggests, replies are comments that are in response to another comment that can be viewed together.
  • Comment Stream: The comment stream doesn't separate top comments and replies, but rather shows them in a singular, chronological stream.

Developers should note that the new APIs aren't automatically added to their dashboard; they have to opt into the service. To do so a user merely has to go the Advanced tab of their app dashboard and opt into July 2013 Breaking Changes.

If a user is still using Facebook’s older comment API service the social network says there are a few code changes these individuals should keep in mind, such as the removal of the "xid," "reply_xid," "username" and "comments" section of the FQL comment table that were previously used for Legacy comment plugins. In order to get a summary field within the Graph API a user has to request "{id}/comments?summary=true."

The Comment Thread

The comment threading structure is a service that Facebook implemented in a beta format in November of last year. Comment threads, which have been previously implemented on sites like Reddit, presents comments in a more organized and relevant format. On March 21, Facebook started adding the feature to popular pages, such as the New York Times, while the following week the network announced that by July the feature would be added to any pages and profiles that had 10,000 or more likes or followers.