(FiveNation.com)- Back in June, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) decided to try turning off comments on their Facebook pages. Apparently, they were receiving an “inordinate amount” of negative comments which the CBC’s editor-in-chief Brodie Fenlon claims were full of “hate, abuse, misogyny and threats.”
So, as an “experiment,” the CBC decided to do away with readers’ ability to comment on any of their posts just to see how it goes.
How that could be an “experiment” is anybody’s guess.
Regardless, Fenlon called the “experiment” a “positive one.” Without the engagement of their readers, the CBC found they could post “more diverse stories” on Facebook without having to moderate “a space with few controls.” Plus, the “well-being” of the CBC staff was much improved when they weren’t faced with feedback.
As a result, Fenlon said on Monday that the CBC will make the move permanent. The only exception will be on posts where the CBC specifically asks readers for comments.
Fenlon scoffed at criticism that the CBC was trying to limit free speech by blocking reader feedback. He pointed out that users are free to comment as much as they want on their own Facebook accounts.
Sure, it isn’t censorship. But it is cowardice. And while Fenlon is probably right that some of the comments were rude or cruel, that isn’t what drove this decision. The CBC, like the rest of the corporate news media, doesn’t want to be questioned, criticized, or held to account.
This is why so many news sites did away with their comments sections over the last few years. They don’t want to hear from readers at all.
But this isn’t unique to the media.
Why do you think the Biden White House keeps comments turned off on all of the YouTube videos? It’s bad enough the Thumbs-Up/Thumbs-Down ratios for White House videos are abysmal. The last thing they want is a barrage of negative comments (or dozens of iterations of “Let’s Go Brandon”) showing up below.