Controversial news network, Al Jazeera English, an offshoot of the Al Jazeera Media Network, recently announced via a Medium post that all comments on their website have been disabled on the website. Comment feedback and user feedback via the comment section have been officially censored on the site.
The Medium post was made on August 30th, 2017 and has been applied to the site’s comment system.
Of course, many readers are probably curious what the reasons are behind the decision to censor user feedback. According to the post, it was due to “racism” and “bigotry”, where they explain…
“[…] the comments section was hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism. The possibility of having any form of debate was virtually non-existent.
“Also, over time, we found social media to be the preferred platform for our audience to debate the issues that matter the most to them. We encourage our audience to continue to interact with us this way.”
Many large media outlets have been disabling their comment sections, especially following #GamerGate. During the height of the event many people used comment sections to correct misinformation being spread by mainstream media outlets who had attempted to paint the consumer revolt as a harassment campaign. In reality, it was about improving the ethical standards in media journalism.
In the case of Al Jazeera, it means that when they post controversial articles like the one titled “Police who said ‘we only kill black people’ to be fired”, which was published on August 31st, 2017, there is no way to comment on the article directly.
These aggressive measures to censor what many are calling “wrongthink” has actually led to a rise of these opinions appearing in places where comment sections are still viable, such as YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites.
The removal of the comment section for Al Jazeera is also retroactive, removing and disabling all comments on past articles as well. The company stated that it would have been too expensive and complex to engineer methods to weed out comments they don’t approve of.