Why did CBC shut down Facebook comments on news posts for a month
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Journalists are no exception.some Recent articles Regarding the well-being of journalists responsible for reporting on the crises they experienced, many of us look in the mirror to assess our health.
Complicating the pressure and anxiety of journalists is the acrimony and harassment that many of them face on social media platforms and increasingly in the field.As Andre Picard wrote Recent column, “For journalists, platforms like Twitter can be a good way to find sources and promote their work, but they are also a sinkhole of hatred. Journalists are also increasingly subject to personal attacks.”
CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait also wrote about Increased abuse of journalists on social media, Especially women and journalists of color, and the threats such attacks pose to freedom of speech and democracy.
If public discourse is the touchstone of social health, then conversations on social media indicate that we have problems. For our reporters, dealing with toxicity on these platforms is one thing. For viewers trying to participate and discuss our journalism, encountering it on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is another situation where they will almost certainly face hatred, racism, and abuse.
This is why starting this week and next month, we will shut down comments on all news links and video posts on Facebook pages belonging to the CBC News Department (News, Current Events, and Places).
We have built a large audience on social media platforms through our shows and news accounts. These are important ways to reach Canadians, and we believe in providing content to people there, just like we do on TV, radio, the Internet, and apps. In fact, some of our social channels have record numbers, expanding reach, and interactions with millions of Canadians.
But as the conversation on these platforms deteriorated, we found ourselves limiting the content posted there. We know that certain stories will cause annoying and hateful comments. The fact is that we spend a lot of attention and resources trying to adjust our Facebook posts. This has caused mental harm to our employees, and they must do their best to keep the dialogue healthy for others.
This is not sustainable.
Comments on CBCNews.ca are still open
We want to see if we can use Facebook more selectively during the 4-week test. Can we be more deliberate? Can we reduce the harm and impact of the conversation?
Can we apply the knowledge we learned on Facebook to other third-party platforms that have comment problems, such as Twitter or YouTube?
As a responsible public broadcaster, we must make wise strategic decisions, weighing our mission, which is to inform, entertain and inspire the Canadian people, and prevent comments from harming our audience, staff, and story topics.
This experiment will give us the opportunity to publish more stories on Facebook, covering a range of life experiences, political thoughts and topics, without worrying about them being overwhelmed by negative comments and attacks.
The 4-week test will also provide valuable data and other insights into how changing our use of Facebook comments may (or may not) affect our story and affect you.
We continue to welcome comments on our website CBCNews.ca, where we have more review tools that can better focus our attention on providing respectful dialogue about our story.
As always, we will inform you of our efforts to improve the CBC experience for you and our employees.
Providing our stories and reports to as many Canadians as possible on the platform of their choice is still the promise of a public broadcaster like CBC. However, dealing with attacks on our people, as well as the themes and principles of our story, is something we take seriously.