Monday, November 30, 2015

How Comment Sections Destroyed News Outlets

By Maggie Lilac

Facebook reinvented the way news is shared in the social and digital space. In many ways it greatly improved the high speed sharing of news but it also generated false stories, gossip, and the always entertaining comment section. It is not the only place that has a comment section now either; almost all online newspaper have comment sections on articles and even the journalist's email to contact them. Places like Youtube are among the other websites that have heated comment sections.

Communication on the Internet has changed dramatically and this can all be linked to social media. It has made it very easy to state your opinion on almost anything and how you really feel without being questioned or sometimes even penalized for what you say. This can be potentially dangerous if young children read unedited or explicit comments on websites like Facebook and Youtube, who happen to notorious for their explicit comments.

Now, many news outlets are linking their websites with Facebook to allow for user generated feedback on articles and news. Because of this, trustworthy and respected online newspapers become places of vulgar language and uneducated reactions in the comment sections. Yes people are allowed to state opinion, that is our first amendment as Americans. However, when people use violent language, threats and uneducated guesses to think they solved a political or government problem, the comment section just turns into a bloodbath of opinions. The problem is the context that readers are using and the value of the conversation. In 2011, USA Today announced that it would participate in the Facebook to online articles idea. They found out that readers were having not so friendly reactions.

Many news outlets are deciding that since the value of knowledge in the comment sections linked to their articles do not reflect what they want on their website, they are deciding to remove the comment section and Facebook link.“If I was painting a picture of a site we were gonna have, and then at the end I said, ‘Oh, by the way, at the bottom of all our articles we’re going to prominently let any pseudonymous avatar do and say whatever they want with no moderation’ — if there was no convention of Internet commenting, if it wasn’t this thing that was accepted, you would think that was a crazy idea,” said Ben Frumin, editor-in-chief of

What started out as a great way to connect readers and share ideas quickly became a uneducated bashing zone of hate and rude comments. Prestigious news outlets do not want hateful and rude opinions on their website, and I couldn't agree more.

1 comment: