ABC News Tackles 'Incest Debate' On Facebook

Ten times as many people responded to a controversial question on the ABC News Facebook page than the typical item gets.

The ABC News page on Facebook got a spike in postings in response to posing the question, “Should incest be permitted between consenting adults?”

Some 311 commenters responded to the post since it first went up about six hours ago. That’s almost ten times the average response to posts on the Facebook page. As of this writing, 28 people clicked “like” on the blurb teasing an item running on the ABC News website.

The question posed above the blurb appears to have motivated readers more than the story itself. The ABC News webpage has 67 comments, while the teaser on Facebook has almost five times as many.

It’s possible the difference has to do with the brevity of the Facebook blurb, and the fact that commenters are surrounded by their friends on the network. I suspect that the well-written question was more of a trigger. Marketers, take note.

The controversial nature of the subject also fueled the responses, in what appears to be the first instance of a news page on Facebook asking about the “i” word.

The actual facts of the story that ABC News covered aren’t new, and both the teaser blurb and the news article even say that the events happened a week ago. The newest thing is the video interview. Scratch the novelty factor off the list of possible triggers for the Facebook page thread.

Which factors do you think played a stronger role in driving the response rate? Does controversy get more comments on Facebook, or do well-phased questions move people’s trigger fingers?