It appears that Facebook is considering adding a company’s five-star rating to a more prominent place on Pages, a move that could have some major implications for both businesses and consumers.

The social network has long allowed its members to rate businesses on a five-star scale. The option first launched in early 2012 with the introduction of Nearby on mobile. Those ratings, however, weren’t prominently displayed, but Facebook’s latest test could put them front and center.

As TechCrunch reported, screenshots and live testing show that Facebook has turned on the star rating display for at least a small group of members. Once made permanent, it will offer visitors a clearer picture of how people feel about a particular business as ratings will be displayed at the top of Pages’ timeline as well as the preview in News Feed.

Facebook Likes, while a popular metric to track, are quite ambiguous in nature. People use the Like button to express endorsement, interest, and in some cases even sympathy or dislike. The number of Likes indicate a popular mindset, but not necessarily sentiment. Although comments help to paint a clearer picture, a prominent rating system makes that information easier (and faster) to digest.

A spokesperson for the company had this to say about the test:

“We’re extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop — to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them. This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.”

As with most tests, the rollout will likely be a gradual one, though there’s no word on when it will be complete. For businesses, a prominent rating system means that it’s not enough to just be present on Facebook — much more emphasis will be placed on customer service and brand interaction.

[Via: TechCrunch, Image credit: Jared Tarbell]