By Jared Newman | Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm
Facebook Questions is a new Q&A service like Yahoo Answers, and TechCrunch reports that between 3 million and 5 million users are seeing it now. When you’re curious about something, just click “Ask Question” in the status bar, type the query, and it will be visible to all Facebook users — not just your friends.
The public nature of Facebook Questions is probably the most interesting part of the news. It’s arguably the most forceful thing Facebook has done to bring users outside of their social circles, because you cannot make questions or answers private. Facebook Questions could not survive any other way, but it will probably cause some snafus for people who don’t realize their questions and answers are exposed to 500 million people. (Facebook does give fair warning that your question will be “visible to everyone.”)
Yet I’m stuck on the idea that the prominence of answers to Facebook Questions are not dictated by the almighty Like. Instead, people can vote answers up or down with an uninspired green check or red “X.” See it in action on Facebook’s blog.
My guess is that Facebook couldn’t just rely on nods of approval to filter the best answers. Some way to flag unhelpful answers was needed, and rather than create a “Dislike” button — that’s just not part of Like’s positive feedback vibe — Facebook may have decided to avoid the issue altogether.
Too bad. I’m sure the dawn of a Facebook “Dislike” button would’ve pleased many Internet malcontents.