Facebook’s trying hard to be a mobile first company, but a lot of new features still come out on desktop first where it’s easier to test. But today, the options to edit posts and comments after publishing, and add photos as comments arrive on iOS via an app update. The goal is to help people express themselves through images and without fear of typos.
[Update: Facebook also seems to have slipped Trending Topics into this iOS release. Facebook confirms it has started testing Trending Topics with a small percentage of iOS users. When you load the News Feed, you may see a single bar noting four or so terms appearing in a lot of recent posts. A tap reveals the whole list of 10 trends, which when tapped reveal a feed of posts by Pages that mention them. Facebook first began trials of Trending Topics on its mobile site in early August.]
Also added in today’s iOS update (that’s slowly rolling out to the App Store if you don’t see it yet) is the option to share emoticon/feeling/activity posts on a friend’s Timeline wall. These let you start a post with a little graphic and statement like “Josh Constine is feeling amused” or “Josh Constine is drinking coffee”. And in a boon to privacy, Facebook now shows a lock icon next to your name in the navigation menu that brings up privacy shortcuts with frequently asked questions and information about whatever you’re currently trying to do on Facebook.
Photo comments first rolled out on the web in July, and let people communicate their responses to posts via images. These image replies are popular amongst the young, hip Tumblr crowd. Bringing the feature to iOS could make the app a bit more popular with the kids, and give Page fans a salient voice via memes amongst the comment reel chaos.
Facebook first offered comment editing on the web in June 2012, and finally extended it to the web and Android last month. The feature lets you edit text you’ve already published. That way if you push a typo, you don’t have to delete and repost, which erases any likes or comments you’ve received.
To discourage bait-and-switching where people rack up Likes or comments to a post then change its text to something different to embarrass anyone who’s already left feedback, Facebook denotes that post or comment has been “Edited” and lets people view the original version. Fears of misuse may have delayed the roll out of post and comment editing — a frequently requested feature.
Now post and comment editing is finally available to all iOS users. The delay illustrates Facebook’s tough quest to become a mobile-first company after thriving for years as a web-based social network. It claimed that all new products had to have mobile versions or they’d be sent back to the drawing board. However, many products remain web only. Most notably, Graph Search. Facebook needs to extend its “move fast” strategy to iOS too.