Recently, Facebook launched a new beta application called Questions. WhileMashable has already posted fiveways the beta feature can be improved, most users don’t have access to ityet. CNet says about 1 percent of Facebook userswill have beta access.

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For businesses and public relations pros, this will be anapplication to watch. Just ask consumers seek advice on Yahoo! Answers andbusinesspeople look for recommendations on LinkedIn Answers, Facebook Questionshas the potential to combine both with input from its 500 million users.

Although Facebook says it doesn’t intend for this to be adevelopment for brands, it will roll out access to Fan pages in the future,which means instead of individuals responding to questions, the Facebookfan/brand page can respond. In addition, monitoring will be available byfollowing any question to see when other answers are posted.

For consumers, it’s important to keep in mind anotherprivacy concern this feature. From the Facebook blog:

Keep in mind that all questions andanswers posted using the Questions application are public and visible toeveryone on the Internet. If you only want to ask a question to your friends ora specific group of people, you can still pose it as a status update on yourprofile targeted to those people.

It will be interesting to watch this evolve and see ifconsumers, the majority of whom consider Facebook as personal use with familyand friends, ask business or product-related questions and are receptive toanswers from brands. They’ve been getting used to this idea through fan/brandpages where consumers need to become a fan to receive special offers andincentives.

—Tonja Deegan