Today's Big Stories

Why News24 is switching off its comments section

Naspers' online media entity, News 24 has been accused of allowing hate speech to be spoken on its sites for quite some time. In a decision that seems to have upset some users, News 24 has decided to disable their comments section.

Editor-in-chief at 24.com, Andrew Trench spoke to Stephen Grootes about this decision.

Trench said that the reasons for disabling their comments is due to their implementing a different approach to handling user contributions and engagement. He adds that the comments were detracting from the overall user experience.

Said Trench:

Interesting and considered contributions are drowned out by a cacophony of insults from a minority of users.

Andrew Trench, Editor-in-chief at 24.com

Listen to the full conversation below:

Speaking of the impact that this will have on News 24, as well as whether this might not be limiting freedom of speech, Media Monitoring SA's William Bird said:

The question is, is it acceptable for a big media house to pass off the role of mitigating and mediating comment to another entity like Facebook. What would happen is that you as the user will see a racist comment and report it to Facebook and then leave Facebook to determine whether that should be removed or not.

William Bird, Director of Media Monitoring Africa

While it might be a pragmatic decision that a lot of people may support it potentially isn't as clear cut as it sounds.

William Bird, Director of Media Monitoring Africa
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