Comments and discussions on a website can be tricky, and there are many solutions to this. One of these is Facebook comments. I’m seeing more and more sites implement Facebook comments, and it usually pains me to see them. There are so many disadvantages to using Facebook comments, that literally anything else would be a better solution. I’d written earlier about why you should control your own comments, so I won’t go over those again.
But this section will specifically be about Facebook, and why it’s not a good commenting system for your site.
It Screws up Your Page Load Speed
It’s true that Facebook comments load after your main content. It’s true that it’s asynchronous. However, it’s still absurd to see the number of resources that Facebook comments uses on a site. In the screenshot below, I’ve highlighted the amount of space that a page has with Facebook comments enabled:
Since this site doesn’t belong to me, I couldn’t test it without Facebook comments. But by watching the space counter at the bottom, I can see when the comment section starts to load. And the number jumped from 2-3 MB to 10 MB!
Even by today’s standards, this is a sin. It’s completely unacceptable that a site would download this much data onto a browser just to enable a comment section. What’s more, the browser’s “spinning wheel” continues during this process, and we all know how annoying that can be.
Bottom line: Facebook comments will screw up your site’s performance.
Lack of Anonymity Doesn’t Improve Civility
There was a time when we thought that forcing people to identify themselves online would remove trolls and bring back civility. What a pipedream! Facebook comments with fully visible profiles are in no way more civil than the anonymous comments we used to see on sites with semi-decent moderation.
This used to be a big reason for comment systems that forced users to sign in. But the past few years have shown that a visible profile is no shield against toxicity.
Limited or Unavailable Aesthetic Integration with the Site
Facebook comments on 3rd party sites are…how do I put this delicately…plain ugly! They fit nicely on Facebook itself because the entire site’s structure, color schemes and fonts are compatible with one another. But on your site, it’s probably a terrible design decision.
Go one – when have you ever seen a Facebook comment section on a 3rd party site and been pleased with what you saw? Never.
Facebook doesn’t give you fine grained control of appearance and CSS like a native commenting solution would. As a result, you’re forced to shoehorn it into your site, and it looks awful.
In today’s age of heightened focus on privacy, it’s worth noting that Facebook comments on your site allow the company to track your users across multiple web pages. It doesn’t even matter if they’re not signed in!
At some point in time, this will be a bigger issue than it currently is. I don’t think enough attention is being paid to the fact that even non-users of Facebook, or those who are signed out, are subject to being tracked across the web. The mere presence of Facebook elements such as the “Like” button are enough.
If you care about your user’s privacy, the last thing you want is a Facebook comments widget sitting on your site.
This one is important. If you use Facebook comments on your site, you lose all control over them. You can’t export them to your native WordPress database later on. You can’t transfer them into another commenting system. Nothing.
Those comments are now the property of Facebook, and neither you, nor your visitors have control over the content. In general, this isn’t a good idea. Comments on your site are the result of your hard work in attracting viewers and getting them motivated enough to share their thoughts. The idea of handing them over willy-nilly to someone else should be abhorrent.
Ideally, you will have your own native system on your site to deal with comments. But even if you choose a third-party solution, Facebook comments is the worst option of them all!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!