Recently, Facebook launched a new beta application called Questions. While Mashable has already posted five ways the beta feature can be improved, most users don’t have access to it yet. CNet says about 1 percent of Facebook users will have beta access.
For businesses and public relations pros, this will be an application to watch. Just ask consumers seek advice on Yahoo! Answers and businesspeople look for recommendations on LinkedIn Answers, Facebook Questions has the potential to combine both with input from its 500 million users.
Although Facebook says it doesn’t intend for this to be a development for brands, it will roll out access to Fan pages in the future, which means instead of individuals responding to questions, the Facebook fan/brand page can respond. In addition, monitoring will be available by following any question to see when other answers are posted.
For consumers, it’s important to keep in mind another privacy concern this feature. From the Facebook blog:
Keep in mind that all questions and answers posted using the Questions application are public and visible to everyone on the Internet. If you only want to ask a question to your friends or a specific group of people, you can still pose it as a status update on your profile targeted to those people.
It will be interesting to watch this evolve and see if consumers, the majority of whom consider Facebook as personal use with family and friends, ask business or product-related questions and are receptive to answers from brands. They’ve been getting used to this idea through fan/brand pages where consumers need to become a fan to receive special offers and incentives.