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Trinity Mirror digital chief defends Facebook log-in system saying news sites should not be comment 'free-for-all'

Trinity Mirror digital publishing director David Higgerson has responded to criticisms which have been raised about the publisher’s decision to adopt a new commenting system across its titles that only allows those with Facebook accounts to contribute to online debates.

Writing in a personal capacity he notes that 189 comments had been posted on a Manchester Evening News article announcing the change, and that most of them had been negative.
 
But he said as this was a tiny fraction of readers, it was a “shame” that some had characterised this as a backlash such as former MEN online editor Sarah Hartley who wrote about the move here on Your Prolific North.
 
He said:
Most of the people who have complained, and this particularly so in the case of those commenting on Twitter, seem to come from a starting point that news websites should allow free-for-all comments on all stories, and that the ‘community’ can say what it likes under any name it likes. I don’t see it like that.
He added: 
For each complaint we’ve seen so far, we’ve had many more remarks – in person, via email, in research – from people who say anonymous comments drag the site down.
Earlier this week I asked Higgerson on Twitter: “Can’t you find a way to let Facebook refuseniks have their say online on local issues too?”. He replied: “We can, but I question why so many people refuse to comment if they have to use their ‘real name’ what does that tell you.”

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