Facebook app lets you backup, keep using Discussions tab on Pages

Facebook will be removing the Discussion Boards app from all Facebook Pages on October 31, 2011. Thankfully, a third-party has created a Facebook app that lets you back it up and keep using it.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Earlier this month, I wrote about how Facebook will be removing the Discussion Boards app from all Facebook Pages on October 31, 2011. The Discussion app, also known as Discussion Boards, allows Pages to host a basic forum, but Facebook recently decided that everyone should just use the Wall.

In my article, I outlined the biggest problem with this change:

Facebook's plan to delete old conversations could anger some users and Page administrators, especially if they had important conversations on it. Furthermore, Facebook doesn't seem to be planning to offer a way to export content from the app before it’s killed.

Thankfully, a small company by the name of Pixode Games has built a free alternative: Forum for pages. Here is the Facebook app's official description:

Forums for pages allows owners of Facebook pages to add a discussion board to their pages. It also allows to import and save all the existing discussions from the soon deprecated Facebook Discussions tab.

The first version of the app includes the following features:

  • Threaded discussions
  • Save and import all your existing discussions from the Facebook Discussions tab
  • Users never leave the Page where the Forum tab is installed (in Facebook current Discussions tab, the user is taken off the Page)
  • Moderators can delete a post or the entire topic, lock a topic, or make a topic sticky

"We think that the removal of the Discussions tab is a shame as many page owners rely on it to engage with their users on a more durable format than they can with the Wall," Pixode Games CEO Flavien Charlon told me. "As you also mentioned in your article, many Page admins have important discussions that they want to keep, that's why we think the feature of importing discussions from the Discussion tab will be of a great help to them."

Facebook rolled out the Discussion Boards app alongside Pages years ago. It was mainly meant to facilitate longer-form discussions about different topics on a given Page. At its peak in December 2010, the app had as many as 55 million monthly active users, according to App Data. Now this number is at some 22 million active users.

Facebook obviously noticed the decline and decided to take action. It's not clear why exactly the social networking giant chose to kill the app completely, but I would think it has something to do with the fact that the Discussions tab is not picked up by the newly launched Ticker and the upcoming Timeline and Open Graph rollout. Walls on Pages are, however, and so Facebook has decided to just kill Discussions instead of updating the app so that it works with other updates to the service.

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