In the past year, Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) feature has become a huge thing, where movie stars, scientists, journalists, musicians and even the president of the United States stop by to answer the internet’s stupid questions. Trying to steal some of that thunder, Facebook recently has added threaded commenting and invited several famous people to try it out, hosting Facebook AMAs. It’s a simple addition, but one that could be pretty damn big.
Facebook has not yet responded for comment, but the company appears to be actively supporting these celebrity Q&As. Facebook’s journalism program manager, Vadim Lavrusik, participated in the Sawyer thread, eliciting a response from Sawyer. In the threads, there is additional evidence to suggest that Facebook is experimenting with Reddit-style algorithms to surface the best and most relevant questions. In a recent post on the new feature, Lavrusik noted, “conversation threads are re-ordered by relevance to viewers, and may appear differently to each person based on their connections.” This re-ordering system includes Likes as well as reports of spam, which feel very similar to up and downvotes.
While Facebook’s effort is in its infancy, there’s no doubt that perfecting the celebrity Q&A format would be a major boon for the company. Facebook’s mainstream reputation is likely to be more palatable to organizations and individuals looking to hawk a product or personality; while Reddit has amassed a large audience, the site is rough around the edges. And the prospect of potentially reaching over one billion eyes will no doubt be dizzying to PR reps everywhere.
The feature will go live on all Facebook pages on July 10th, but it’s almost certain you’ll be seeing this type of format appearing more frequently in your feed before then.
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