Facebook Kills Comment Reply Notifications Within Applications

You know those emails you get every time someone comments on a status update you already commented on? It can definitely get annoying. Facebook applications previously had similar functionality, however as of yesterday afternoon, comment notifications have been shut off. For most users it’s probably not a huge deal, however some developers are already complaining about this subtle change.

In a discussion on the Facebook developer board regarding app-to-user notifications, Matt Trainer of Facebook told developers two weeks ago that “Notifications generated by fb:comments will continue to work.” Two weeks later, they’ve been shut off and one developer who just reached out to us suggests that this is a “double standard”. As the developer told us:

Facebook claims that this is to eliminate a user from receiving notifications as a result of actions by non-friends. However, if I reply on a friend’s wall and someone posts after me who is not a friend, I still receive a notification. In both situations, I’ve contributed to a wall. In both situations, a non-friend responds. But only on the Facebook wall do I get a notification about the response.

While an automated feature that developers had no control over previously, this functionality allowed for reengagement from users who wanted to have conversations with other users (friends or not). The end result here is that some developers are not happy. While I’m not sure that Facebook will restore comment notifications within applications, it’s clearly a feature that many developers would like to retain.