EDITORIAL: Web trolls unwelcome

For some reason, so-called web trolls think there are different standards about what they can say online as opposed to print.

Some newspapers in this country have ended the opportunity for readers to provide online comments to their stories.

The commenting system at Black Press is set up differently than some others – you must have a Facebook account to express your views publicly.

We understand the sentiment expressed by organizations that have suspended commenting on their websites. Some people don’t seem to understand their hurtful, racist or hateful barbs are just as bad – and legally actionable – online as they are in print.

For some reason, so-called web trolls think there are different standards about what they can say online as opposed to print or, goodness forbid, face-to-face.

Using Facebook to allow comments on stories is far from bulletproof. It’s more difficult to hide your identity on Facebook, but still possible. Even if it’s clear who is writing a hurtful comment, it could potentially remain for a time until it is caught and deleted. Most of the time it’s because of foul language or personally focused vitriol, among a variety of reasons.

Please, comment on the story or the issue. Don’t insult, denigrate or incite hate.

As some media outlets have recently demonstrated, commenting on their websites and/or social media is not a free speech “right” – it is an opportunity that can be withdrawn.

– Black Press