Facebook makes comments editable, provides pranksters with opportunities

22 Jun 2012

Previously, you could just delete an errant Facebook comment or – if you acted fast enough – what you just posted and deleted could be edited within a 30-second window. Now, Facebook is allowing users to edit any comment – an improvement that just begs for hijinx.

This will be a welcome change for those of us who have posted comments in a rush and then, afterwards, spotted an error in the text. Previously, though you could delete the comment and start over, this would mean additional and pointless notifications to your friends.

Now, though, you can freely edit comments after posting and friends won’t receive any additional notification. Great! Or is it?

Facebook comments - edit option

Following some experimentation, I’ve realised the pitfalls – and potential for pranks – of this new update. Say you make a comment that your friend ‘likes’, something along the lines of “TGIF!”. I can then go back and edit this to say, “Like this comment if you think Chuck Norris is hot.” My friend’s ‘like’ remains, but they have no idea that the content of the comment has changed completely.

Edited Facebook comment

These shenanigans were already enabled by the ability to edit status updates, but the subtlety of the comment box makes it all a little more sneaky – and we all know that Facebook is riddled with pranksters who may revel in their new-found abilities.

Strangely enough, this facility is not being added to embedded Facebook comment sections on other websites, as reported by The Next Web; something which would be, perhaps, more useful, putting Facebook in line with typical comment systems.

Thankfully, the edited comments are labelled as such, and any user can click to see the entire edit history of any comment. Still, though, there’s definitely some harmless fun to be had.

Facebook comment edit history

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.