Should big newspapers stop anonymous comments?

The Conservative government probably has no majority in Parliament, and Ms. May’s authority is being challenged by lightweight politicians and Rupert Murdoch’s media companies all of whom have plenty of money. Simply stated they just want to hold on to power and do that the same way hat Trump is doing, by created fabricated stories that appeal to poorly educated voters and then using social media to continue to repeat their trash over and over again. It appears to work so long as there are large swaths of voters who react favourably to such propaganda. It also works quite well in Russia…

It is also disturbing to see that Russian trolls are writing long comments in after articles about Trump, the Russian sanctions and Nato ion the Financial Times (FT). A number of readers have suggested that the FT should stop allowing trolls to write, but it appears that the newspaper feels that this would be undue censorship. It is clear that active trolls in Russia and from other less democratic countries are abusing our notion of Freedom of Speech. The FT is allowing access to people and governments who want to harm our democracies. We can already see what damage such people can do when they interfere in an election in the USA an in the information war before the Brexit referendum.

FinnishNews has noted from the security log thousands of attempts from Russian hackers to break into our well-protected servers in Finland. The WordPress Plug Ins reports such attacks every day. As a result of these continued attacks, we decided to close down comments from readers. We also never allowed anonymous comments because many were obviously trolls.

Finland’s main newspaper, the Helsingin Sanomat, is allowing anonymous comments to be made after is articles, and like the FT, they appear to give voice to trolls. 

In both cases the newspapers should consider the following:

  1. They should at least produce data and studies on the geographical location of IP addresses of each anonymous comment, and perhaps start to add the country of its origin, so readers can identify for themselves the credibility of a comment.
  2. They should consider banning anonymous comments and demand that comments can only be made by named and identifiable people, with their town and country named as well.

Anonymous comments are actually a good way to describe such comments – if people want to make a difference in a real democracy then they should be held to accountability as well when commenting. To hide behind a fictitious identity when trying to harm our democracy is unacceptable, and to hide when insulting others who do not deserve such criticism is cowardly. We do not need to hear from such people… 

There is no redeeming feature about Trump in that he, and his underlings, even when he makes cowardly and abusive comments every day in his own name. He is using the power of social media and his media friends for his own profits and to retain power and riches. This is just what his friends in Russia are doing. 

Long-live our democracy…


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