More news organizations try cleaning up online comments with the help of social media

By | July 16, 2013

More comments on news websites are being routed through social media giants like Facebook and LinkedIn. photo credit: 4nitsirk via photopin cc

ESPN this week becomes the latest major news organization to rely upon social media to help civilize its online comments.

Starting Wednesday,’s 25 million active users will have to log in through a Facebook account if they want to participate in online conversations on stories.

Patrick Stiegman, editor-in-chief of, said by phone that three factors drove the company’s decision to switch to Facebook for commenting: “a tremendously smooth transition for fans,” many of whom already have Facebook accounts; increased visibility for ESPN content beyond the walls of; and a desire to “emphasize quality of comments over the quantity of comments.”

The daily comment count on averaged 230,000 posts in June, according to ESPN’s Kevin Ota. That’s 6.9 million comments just last month. But while the level of public discourse on is enviably robust by any news organization’s standards, it isn’t necessarily always civil or thoughtful.

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