Facebook users can now tag their friends, Pages, apps, Groups, and Events in comments to news feed stories and wall posts to create linked mentions. This will help users carry on conversations with other commenters and allow them to easily reference different entities on Facebook.
In September 2009, users gained the ability to mention friends and other Facebook pages in their status updates and wall posts by typing an “@” symbol followed by the first letters of a name and then selecting from a drop-down menu.
Later Facebook began showing tag suggestions whenever a user capitalized a letter in an update or post, but later removed the feature since it interrupted users who weren’t actually trying to tag anything.
Now users can type an “@” symbol to initiate the tag drop-down menu in comments. Until this release, some users had taken to manually typing @[first name] without it properly linking in order to create unofficial mentions in comments.
When a user is tagged, they’ll receive an notification stating that a friend “mentioned you in a comment.”
The new comment mentions also create new opportunity for Pages. Admins can “Use Facebook as Page” and publish comments that mention themselves on the posts of other Pages in order to attract people to their Page. Since Facebook’s spam filters sometimes hide comments that include URLs, the ability to mention Pages will make sure these types of links are seen.
The update should encourage users to have longer conversations inside the comments reels of posts. Since the comments generate notifications for everyone involved in the thread, not just those mentioned, longer conversations lead to more return visits and greater engagement.
Update 3/12/2011: We’ve noticed that users can not untag themselves when tagged in comments, whereas they can untag themselves from tagged news feed or wall posts. This means the @ mentions could be abused to associate a user with content they might object to.
[Thanks to Brandglue and Kobi Gamliel for the tip]