How journalists are using Facebook’s new live Q&A feature
mag 2013 06

Facebook is rolling out a feature that lets journalists host live chats on pages or on profiles with more than 10,000 followers.  Facebook recently launched a new feature which has been used by a number or high-profile journalists in order to host conversations.

The feature is currently being rolled out, and all Facebook pages will get the option by 10 July, as will all individual accounts where the person has more than 10,000 followers. In a similar way to a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), a person or page can take questions in real-time.

The Q&A feature was announced on 25 March, and has since been used by Arianna Huffington, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, and CBS News senior correspondent and former FBI spokesman John Miller, who did a live Facebook Q&A about the investigation into the Boston marathon bombings.

The new feature was flagged up by Vadim Lavrusik, journalism programme manager at Facebook, at news:rewired,’s digital journalism conference, on 19 April (a video of the session is here).

Lavrusik explained that Facebook page managers can opt in to the new feature in the settings.

In an announcement post on the Facebook for journalists group page, Lavrusik said by using the Q&A feature, “you and your readers will have the ability to reply directly to comments left on your page content and start conversation threads, which will make it easier for you to interact directly with individual readers and keep relevant conversations connected”.

As with Reddit AMA’s, the most engaging and active conversations are surfaced to the top.

The feature will initially be available on desktop but there are plans to “make it available in the Graph API and mobile in the future”, Lavrusik writes.

He also explains how the comments are organised: “Conversation threads are re-ordered by relevance to viewers, and may appear differently to each person based on their connections.”

He said the algorithm does this by looking at various elements: positive feedback, based on “the total number of ‘likes’ and replies in a conversation thread, which includes ‘likes’ or replies by the page owner”; connections, where “conversations with comments left by friends may appear at the top”; and negative feedback, “the total number of spam reports in a thread, as well as marks-as-spam made by the page owner”. (from


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