Billings Gazette Makes Bad Call With This Social Media Decision
From the Billings Gazette this morning: "As journalists, those of us who produce content for Lee Enterprises' five Montana newspapers are firm believers in free speech.
"Our Facebook and Twitter pages have become landing pages for too many trolls, bots, and content we'd never allow in print or in online stories."
They of course shared this message on their Facebook:
So, now they are going to give attention to the posts that they deem fit with any of those adjectives.
What happened to "firm believers in free speech?"
Paul and I put an article out every day. And anybody who can afford the internet is welcome to say anything they want to us. Our followers and listeners know that's true because we read the comments and e-mails from anybody who will comment on our Facebook, including the trolls and haters.
On our Cat Country Facebook page, we edit out comments that contain extreme profanity. But that's it. We don't filter "hate speech", "bullying" or anything more. We'd show you the evidence of our comment moderator settings, but for obvious reasons, we won't publish that screenshot. The types of naughty words people come up with are better left unshared.
We never filter out disagreeing comments, and the majority of comments still get read on air even if they differ from our opinion.
On top of that, if you still aren't satisfied with what you heard on the air, you can pick up your phone and call us and get things hashed out.
THAT is what free speech is about.
Do Gazette readers get that type of opportunity when they write something that the newspaper editors disagree with them about? The answer is no.
It's either that, or conservatives in this area never write our newspaper any letters.
So starting next week in the Billings newspaper under the new policy, you'll be able to debate chocolate vs vanilla, Yankees vs Red Sox, and who really does make the best pizza.
I think it's a bad call and hurts any credibility they had left.