Trinity Mirror titles bar non-Facebook users from leaving comments

Manchester Evening News readers have expressed their anger after being told that in future they will need a Facebook account to comment on stories.

The move comes as the MEN prepares to roll out a new-look website which it said will be "cleaner and less cluttered".

The Birmingham Mail has already limited comments on its website to Facebook users and Trinity Mirror plans to roll out the initiative to all other titles.

The system is already in place at Mirror Online.

At time of writing more than 70 comments had been left on the MEN article, and most of them were negative. The MEN's Facebook page currently has 8,194 likes.

Readers were told this morning: "If you don’t have a Facebook account, we are afraid you will no longer be able to sign in and comment on the Manchester Evening News."

In response some users said they would rather stop reading the website than join Facebook in order to comment.

One reader named 'Voter' said: “[L]ike many men and women of a certain age, I do not have a 'Facebook' account. Goodbye – it was nice knowing you. There are other newspaper sites where there are no restrictions.”

Lady Shiggle said: "I often log in at lunchtime from work and leave comments, but Facebook is blocked at work along with other social media sites so now I can no longer leave comments either. Poor show MEN."

One commenter, Rammylad, said he had set up a Facebook account with a dummy email address.

Free Thinking commented: “I realise this may seem like prying, but it would be interesting to know how many of the regular commentators here currently use Facebook, would be willing to link their account to the MEN if they do, or open one if they do not in order to continue using this website?”

MEN has responded to readers’ complaints by saying the Facebook log-in will make the site “more accessible”.

The MEN said it will also enable the website to offer a “personalisation service” that can “recommend articles to you and aims to tailor what you see on the site to your preferences”.

The paper also pointed out that users can set up an account to use exclusively on the MEN site.

“We understand from the experiences of our colleagues at the Birmingham Mail, who introduced the same process before Christmas, that not everyone will choose to give the new system a go and that's something we accept,” the MEN said.

“Unfortunately, for technical reasons, we were unable to keep our previous registration process as well as Facebook, but we think it's the right decision for the majority of our readers.

“Sorry for the inconvenience this causes you and we hope you give our new commenting system a try.”

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson told Press Gazette "we're working on making all the TM sites the same in this respect, as well as on further log-in options".