Facebook is yet again rolling out changes to the way photos are displayed on the website, and this time with some potentially controversial side effects.
The site has overhauled the big photo viewer you see when you click on a photo, moving both comments and ads from below the photos to the right hand side. There's also new buttons for liking and tagging the photo overlayed directly on top of the image itself.
From their new perch on the side, comments are viewable without having to do any scrolling, which could make users more likely to read and engage with them. But it's not just the comments Facebook is hoping users will engage with. The new layout creates premium real estate for advertisements and sponsored posts, which are now appearing directly below the comments right next to the photo.
One of Facebook's biggest challenges for the future is figuring out ways to continue boosting revenue on a scale that will justify its lofty valuation (currently estimated at between $80 and $100 billion). Since the company makes the vast majority of its income on ads, that means users can expect them to figure heavily in Facebook's future plans.
The new photo viewer is a small but possibly telling indication of how the company may look to increase both the number and value of ads on the site.