Frequently asked questions on our switch to Facebook commenting

We've changed to Facebook Comments to improve the environment for conversation on newsobserver.com and our community sites, and to make it easy to comment on stories and share them with your friends. Here are some frequently asked questions about what we're doing:

Do I need a Facebook account to comment?

Yes. If you don't have one, you'll be prompted to sign up for one when you try to post a comment on our site. You can also get one here. Once you’ve signed up with Facebook, you must add a profile photo and connect with at least four friends before you will be able to easily comment and share stories. Your comments may be visible only to you and your friends for the first few days after you sign up.

What if I don’t want to participate in Facebook?

You won't be able to post comments on our content.

Will Facebook be monitoring the comments now?

No. Facebook does not moderate comments.

Is newsobserver.com being paid by Facebook to do this?


So why are you doing it?

We want a more civil environment for comments and a more enlightening exchange of ideas on our stories. Having real names attached to comments will make that possible. Our previous vendors allowed commenters to use screen names and aliases, and that made it easier for users to post spam and abuse.

How do I log in to Facebook while on newsobserver.com?

After you write a comment, when you click “Comment,” a pop-up window will appear asking you to sign in via Facebook. If you don't see the pop-up window, make sure you have your pop-up blocker turned off.

If you are already logged in to Facebook on the device you're using, you won’t be asked to sign in. You can simply post your comment.

Why does my Facebook profile picture and name appear on the comments page when I haven't even posted a comment?

If you're logged in to Facebook, you will see that information — but no one else will see it until you post a comment.

Will all my comments be posted to my own Facebook page, too?

Not necessarily. When you start to write a comment, you’ll be given the option of "post to Facebook" right under it. All you have to do is unclick that box, and your comment will not be shown on your Facebook page.

Can other commenters see my personal information, e-mail, location, etc.?

What others see when they click on your name or picture on our site is determined by your Facebook privacy settings. Those settings allow you to decide how much information you want to share with your friends or others. To adjust your Facebook privacy settings, go here.

How do I report an inappropriate or abusive comment?

Hover over the upper right corner of the comment until an "X" appears. Then click the "X" and choose one of the options to report a comment as spam or abuse. The comment will be removed from your view. Facebook does track abuse reports and automatically bans users who are consistently abusive.

I can't see the comments. What's wrong?

Comments on this site are public; anyone can see them, whether they are logged in on Facebook or not. If you can't see the comments, please check with your own IT department. Some government agencies and other employers block Facebook domains and applications from their servers.

How do I manage my account, change my privacy settings and share my comments?

You can learn about these options and more at Facebook’s help center.

How do I manage my Facebook notifications?

Learn how here.

Are the "terms of use" on newsobserver.com changing, too?

No; they're the same. You can find them here. To see Facebook’s terms of service, go here.

Do I need to keep an active Facebook account to post?

We look for real names, some kind of picture, and enough information to convince us you are a real person. Whether you do anything else with your Facebook account is up to you.

Do I have to use my own photo?

No, you can pick whatever best expresses yourself. The photo shown when you comment is the profile photo on your Facebook account.

What is a Top Commenter, and how do I become one?

Facebook automatically assigns the Top Commenter badge to users whose comments are most often "liked" by others. To earn the badge, be civil and respectful, respecting other viewpoints and following our comment policy.

What about my Disqus account?

Your Disqus account still exists at Disqus.com" target="_blank". However, it will not be an option for commenting on our site.

What if I still have questions?

Email us and we’ll help you. If you're having problems with your Facebook account, visit the Facebook help page.

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