Newspapers tap Facebook to host—and monitor—comment forums

Three California dailies are dropping their self-policing systems in a bid to elevate the rhetoric. Could a similar approach work for your website?

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It’s taken 15 years, but some newspapers are acting to elevate the online conversation by addressing a key factor: anonymity.

The first step is to turn off the comments function, which many have already done. And some are turning to a different frontier for online forums—Facebook.

Beginning Thursday, the Orange County Register will begin using Facebook for its online comments. The paper’s editor said the goal is to create a place where readers can engage in a community conversation. The old way didn’t work.

“While many signed up and interacted in good faith, others took the opportunity to use the public forum to post inappropriate and hateful speech,” Register editor Ken Brusic told readers this week.

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