Anti-Social: What Happened to Facebook Social Reading?

A couple of weeks back, I was excited to announce the launch of the new official Facebook WordPress plugin. Actually, the plugin itself wasn’t what made me giddy. It was one of the features: Social Reading.

What is social reading? You’ve seen it when your friends read articles on Yahoo! or The Washington Post. Instead of having to click Like, their activities are automatically published to their friends’ News Feeds and Tickers.

Sure, it could be slightly annoying. But I also saw enormous opportunities for bloggers who were looking for new ways to drive traffic. Activating Social Reading was an absolute must for anyone with a blog.

The problem is that within days of writing that blog post, the feature no longer worked. And it’s not just on my website. Mashable had also implemented Social Reading before it quickly disappeared.

I still had the feature “activated” within my plugin settings. But the option for users to turn Social Reading on or off in the Recommendations Bar was gone.

Facebook Social Reading Gone

So… what the heck happened to it? Where did it go? Matt Kelly of Facebook had this explanation within a WordPress forum:

“The Recommendations Bar is currently in beta. [We] have temporarily removed the social reading functionality of the feature as we test the product and iterate further. We’ll follow up with updates. Thanks.”

Too bad. Well, at least that mystery is solved. Hopefully Facebook will bring it back soon!