Facebook preps comments widget for data portability service

Facebook has released a comments widget for its Connect data portability service.

Facebook has extended the functionality of its Connect data portability service with a widget application that lets Web publishers add comment boxes to their sites.

The company, still reeling from a privacy backlash over now-discarded changes to its terms of service, announced the Comments Box widget late Thursday, saying the application will make it easy for publishers to add commenting functionality to their sites.

In turn, Facebook members will be able to not only post comments on external sites with their real name and profile photo but also share those comments back on Facebook, wrote Ray C. He, a Facebook engineer, in an official company blog. People who aren't Facebook members can also post comments using the Comments Box widget.

"The Comments Box is a great way for any website, blog or photo gallery to add social comments to their page in just a minute with a few lines of code," He wrote.

Web publishers can customize some layout attributes of the widget, like background color and text color, set privacy and access parameters, according to Facebook.

Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo, Google and others are developing data portability systems in response to end users' desire to have more control over the data and content they enter in Web sites with social-networking features.

Although far from realized, the goal of data portability is to give people a central repository and control panel of their "social" data, like lists of friends, activity streams and notifications, blog items penned, comments and uploaded photos and videos,

That way, people wouldn't have to manually enter this data into every Web site in which they participate, and the data wouldn't be locked in within a particular social network.

For example, in Web sites that have adopted Connect, people can log in with their Facebook ID and have their name and profile photo appear next to comments they post.

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