New Feature Lets Facebook Users Comment With Photos
June 20, 2013

New Feature Lets Facebook Users Comment With Photos

Peter Suciu for — Your Universe Online

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words; and now social media giant Facebook will allow pictures — or more accurately photos — to do the talking for users looking to leave a comment. Beginning this week users will be able to reply to status updates and respond not only with text but with a photo.

On Wednesday the social network introduced a new camera button that will let users reply to status updates with an image. The new feature has launched globally, arriving first to the web and mobile website.

“Now you will be able to add photo comments to posts across the site," a Facebook spokesperson told PCMag on Wednesday.

According to online reports this feature was created as a result of one of the recent so-called “œhackathons" at Facebook, where engineers get together and try to create new things for the social network. During one of these sessions Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin came out with the feature that allows users to comment in a way beyond words.

“When I'm talking with a friend, sometimes showing a photo helps me tell a story much better than words alone," he wrote in a Facebook status update. “If we're hanging out in person, I can show a photo from my phone, but on Facebook I'd have to post a link to a photo. Now, you'll be able to attach a photo directly when posting a comment. I hope this will make threads with friends more expressive and engaging."

While this photo comment functionality is currently available for the website and mobile web versions, users will only be able to view the comments on their mobile applications for now. Users can´t actually leave a photo comment via the mobile apps just yet, and Facebook has yet to announce when the app-based ability might arrive.

It also appears that only certain photo formats will be supported including JPEG and PNG images, which remain two of the most popular standards for digital imagery online.

HuffPost reported that Facebook may not support GIF files, which tend to be larger in size and thus take up more bandwidth than other photo formats. GIFs remain popular as the format offers a simple way to add animation to photos.

However, according to Los Angeles Times, “The tool appears to enable JPEG and PNG image files to be uploaded and inserted. Although animated GIFs can be uploaded, they'll display like a still image."

This is the latest move in the ongoing battle between various players in the social media space.

This ability to include photos could allow for easier sharing of crowd-sourced images, and could allow Facebook to take on social media rival Twitter. Facebook recently introduced hashtags, a popular feature among Twitter users.

It is also expected that Facebook could soon introduce video-sharing to its popular photo-sharing app Instagram, a move that seems to be in response to Twitter's introduction of micro-videos through its Vine app.

Truly the social media giants think that a photo is worth a thousand words and now offer a way to get a leg up on the competition.