MSN Quietly Ends Online Comments after 'Abusive & Offensive Posts' - iMediaEthics
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MSN is the latest news site to end online comments. The Microsoft-owned site didn’t announce the decision, but readers noticed this month that the commenting option was gone.

In its place, a note reads, “MSN has temporarily removed commenting on our websites. In the meantime, we are finding better ways for you to carry out discussions on the issues you care about.”

iMediaEthics searched and only found one story, from the Microsoft-focused community site On MSFT, that flagged the missing comments section. We wrote to MSN to ask what happened, when it happened and if the move is permanent. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, comments were disabled on July 12, 2017, two weeks ago.

In a statement to iMediaEthics, the spokesperson indicated MSN might bring back a commenting feature but “abusive and offensive posts” prompted MSN to block comments. The statement reads:

“We do not intend for this to be the end of user contributions, but a first step in creating a better way for our audience to engage in discussion around issues they care about. We are working on developing an entirely new discussion platform that will enable open debate, and at the same time go much further in protecting the user community from abusive and offensive posts. In the short term the commenting feature won’t be available. However, it’s a necessary step in order to allow us to create a solution that welcomes open and intelligent debate in a respectful environment.”

Earlier this month, Montana’s Bozeman Chronicle ended its online comments section because it devolved into “I’m smart, you’re dumb,” as iMediaEthics reported. NPR, the Toronto Star, the Daily Beast, Reuters, the Chicago Sun-Times and others have previously banned online comments because of similar problems.

 

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MSN Quietly Ends Online Comments after ‘Abusive & Offensive Posts’

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50 Responses

  1. Draxman says:

    In other words, ‘We may allow some heavily censored feedback in the future, when we’ve worked out a system that allows us to remove any dissenting views and prevent anyone calling us out on whatever bullshit we decide to publish on the issues we insist you should care about.’

    Don’t bother MSN. You can shove it. I’ll go elsewhere, thanks.

  2. cia spook says:

    Amen

  3. Teresa says:

    I always had msn.com as my homepage read articles and commented, ignored the idiots..now, I dont have msn as my homepage and have gone from microsoft edge to firefox as my browser..Tata MSN.

  4. Diogenese says:

    Mainstream media is dying, as we no longer need to wait for them to tell us what happened in the world. They see the loss of control as a threat to their power. The claim that they want to prevent “abusive” comments is just a smokescreen for the real reason that the comments section is a perfect barometer for the feelings of the public on many issues, and they do not like what they hear.

  5. Rachel Silberman says:

    Starting to fell less and less like a “free” country. Freedom of speech should include the written word, as well.

  6. Vito says:

    short and simple, MSN can’t handle the truth! Period

  7. Sue says:

    Am so glad they did it. The comment section was horrible with code cuss words, racist, sexist remarks. It is much nicer now.

  8. Ejon says:

    Thank you MSN! The basket of deplorables have to find another place to hang out. Please do use another browser.

  9. Lou the CPA says:

    Always had MSN homepage and used Internet explorer. I don’t need Big Brother MSN telling me what to think, especially when its contents are mainly left and contain mainly half truth.

    I’ll be finding a new browser, maybe Firefox, today. Also need a new homepage where everyone’s comments are allowed. Any suggestions?

  10. tamar says:

    I agree with their decision to remove the comment section. Many of the comments were inappropriate and insensitive.

  11. Shlabber says:

    As distasteful as many of the comments are, one can imagine that those flagged and removed were beyond the pale; and, as such deserved to be removed. I guess the ethics police, be they bots or beings, are out of a job and well, we already know what the opposing view points are by now. The dissenting discourse between the well informed and opinionated vs. the same ‘ol diatribe from the brainwashed Chrumpanzees was, at times, entertaining as hell.

  12. Christine says:

    I find it hypocritical that news sites fight for “freedom of speech and press” yet do not allow people to voice their own opinion. There will be abusive people, no matter what. If I choose to post a comment, then I am taking the risk of some return abusive rhetoric. Does that mean I won’t post in the future? No. I am an adult, I can handle myself. I don’t need a news agency to do it for me. I also want freedom to speak and write.

  13. Troy Crawford says:

    No doubt there are comments made that can completely be defined as hate speech. News entities are private businesses and have the right to allow or disallow comments on their sites. I agree with those who say it is more about those who comment disagreeing with the writer or writers of those post. I think many so called journalist can’t back their opinions when faced with a solid rebuttal . They believe in freedom of the press as long as you agree with their position or opinions. If a conservative voices their opinion on a liberal show host page on Facebook, their followers can block and report them and at some point Facebook will disable their accounts. MSN, MSNBC, CNN seem to want to censor Conservatives while inviting any and all forms of Liberal opinions or attacks on Conservatives with no consequence. The bottom line is MSN can’t handle the truth when it comes to a debate with Conservatives. Their excuse for closing down the comment section is just more fake news. It is censorship.

  14. Emilie L. Sizer says:

    Here too, I mainly read MSN news and used IE. However now with MSN doing the censoring with the comments, I too have moved on to other news sources and use Firefox and Google Chrome more and more…

  15. Elden (Buck) Eichler says:

    Comments sections are rife with garbage comment, but there are jewels in there too. The potential is so great, but rarely achieved. I find it worth scanning through the trash to find the jewels, because some commenters say some very worthwhile things.
    I’ve occassionally returned negative comments. I mean, sometimes a person just gets exasperated. But I try not to engage in trash talk. Above all we need to police ourselves and focus on meaningful contributions and questions.
    This is not an attempt to stifle dissent. It’s an attempt to find a way to achieve productive discussions. I hope a way forward is found.

  16. David Kociol says:

    It was common for people in the comments section to call each other “retarded.” I think that, because of this obviously insensitive name-calling, that the comments sections were hardly productive at all. Your freedom of speech does not have to be respected by a private entity like Microsoft, so I completely understand their executive decision to temporarily disable comments sections.

  17. Wes says:

    Rather than monitor for trolls and abusive comments Msn removes public commenting.

    Interesting how they didn’t do that when Obama was being bashed daily. And yet certain people think this is a liberal-biased decision? Most of the recent posts I’ve seen have called out Trump and his foolishness.

  18. Jennifer Harris says:

    Logic would dictate that if the MSN comments police had any real intention of “finding better ways for you to carry out discussions on the issues you care about”, they would have found that better way PRIOR to disabling their comments section. They are either profoundly illogical, profoundly dishonest, or both.

  19. Frances says:

    I was happy to see MSN make this move. It was getting really hard to find intelligent comments among the many, many vicious personal attacks. If people can’t comment on someone’s opinion rather than launch such a personal attack, it isn’t free speech.

  20. Bobby Whitman says:

    My comments were moderated, folks. In other words, taken down. Snort.

  21. Patty Wolford says:

    MSN doesn’t want to hear/read any dissenting comments on their constant Liberal barrage of propaganda.

  22. Patty Wolford says:

    MSN doesn’t want to hear/read any dissenting views of their constant barrage of Liberal propaganda.

  23. chuck says:

    It’s a good thing that MSN removed the comments section from their articles. It was just another area where normal, sane, pleasant, intelligent people somehow devolved into name calling, finger pointing, politic blaming bullies. In fact, most comments sections all seem to end up the same way and should be removed. This isn’t a freedom of speech issue, it’s an integrity issue. As soon as someone is cloaked behind the anonymity of the internet, they seem to have no filter on what they type and don’t seem to be able to contribute anything useful to the article or discussion.

  24. PuckSchmuck says:

    You know what really grinds my gears with most sites nowadays, present company excluded, is that you have to have a particular social media account to be able to comment on a story. Its’ like I’m being told in order to have a voice I must follow mob rules… Sorry, I don’t need a voice if the only thing I can do with it is spout somebody else’s nonsense.

  25. Stanley Moldenhauer says:

    Too bad it is closed. I think the comments were sometimes crude. I think sometimes it demonstrated the extreme divide in this country. Without a place to vent and discord opinions the blister will expand until it pops. If MSM cannot handle critics then get out of the kitchen. The public will continue on and find other locations to battle opinionated Americans.

  26. Robin Ragland says:

    I’m glad they removed comments. There was very little discussion or debate and a lot of name calling and hatefulness. People get behind a computer screen and say things they would never say face to face.

  27. DrWorm says:

    Good call. The comments section had become a refuge for low lifes that have a ton of bravado when protected by the annonymity of the interwebs. It didn’t add anything to the conversation…it had basically become a wave of trolls doing nothing but insighting hate. Even the well thought out comments do nothing more than insight a pendulum swing by people with the opposite view. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an intelligent back and forth on a “comments section”. “Woman stops, smells flowers”. The comments would quickly turn to “Trump doesn’t want her to smell flowers, he’s a Nazi” followed by “If you don’t love America, move to China!” Even in comments about removing comments, people can’t help themselves. Even in this very comments section there are perfect examples where absolutely zero is added to the conversation: “basket of deplorables” is thrown out there to, I don’t know, try to be shocking or whatever–trying to insight something. Then a few comments below someone talks about “Brainwashed Trumpanzees”…in a comments section about MSN’s policy to remove comments! People simply cannot help themselves. They troll the internet just looking for ways suck any intelligence out of the conversation that they can and insert name calling and fake outrage. Elden has the best post above: but I fear, Elden, as long as the first reaction to anything in comments is to first name call, and second move the pendulum as far to one side of the issue as possible, the idiots among us will never be able to “police themselves”.

  28. Kazoo42 says:

    There are cancerous comments that only seek to incite some sort of flame war, but the bigger problem is MSN’s obvious liberal bias. Having this newsfeed there by default is frustrating and can only be deleted by changing your homepage. Partisan censorship for the comment sections is only going to make things worse. There are things we definitely know are inflammatory but don’t confuse those things with things that offer constructive criticism to various liberal groups. Encouraging politeness is good but don’t think you can shield people from criticism.

  29. LOUIS says:

    I believe that the comment section on MSN appearing under each article served an important purpose, especially when you are a conservative. It’s obvious that MSN posts articles with a liberal narrative, and the comment section was interesting in that you would be able to read opinions from opposing points of view. If MSN ever reviewed some comments I’m sure it gave them some food for thought as some people did a good job of debate. Now MSN can post exclusively leftie slanted news and get away with it. How I wish that my email address wasn’t @msn.com so I wouldn’t have to see all the news articles, since now I can’t vent.

  30. mike says:

    The comments on any news site are important to show what and how people really think. Most of the story’s on msn were worded from a left view, I really would like to find a news site that would present news without a left or right view-just the facts.

  31. Erin says:

    Can’t say anything anymore for fear of offending someone. We have become a society of whiners and gripers. Don’t call me fat. Don’t use that word. Don’t look at me. Don’t argue with me. Don’t Make me follow the rules on planes. Don’t make me follow the dress codes at school. Don’t make me drive by a restaurant whose owner has different moral views than I do. Bunch of chronically unhappy people who blame everyone else for their problems. MSN doesn’t want anyone out there to point this out. The vast majority of people try to respect others. We seem to have forgotten that.

  32. Ascension says:

    It is so easy to tell a political affiliation based on responses to this shameful display of silencing dissenting opinions by MSN. Every single one of you in favor, is a brainwashed liberal. At the very least, you can now read your fake, biased news in peace without anyone challenging validity of what you’re being fed. Side note: If something bothers you on the internet, you can choose to simply not read it, or just turn off your computer and go out get some fresh air. Hope this helps.

  33. andrew pinkham says:

    yahoo still allows free speech and the reader to think for themselves.if you want to be programed like a drone read msn

  34. Brenda says:

    As “abusive and offensive” the comments section was, removing the ability for people to comment and debate is censorship and goes against the constitutional right to free speech. You’re true colors are showing, MSN.

  35. JMRTC says:

    I perused the MSN comments section exactly once–which was enough for me. It was chock full of poorly spelled and overtly racist diatribes. The women who dared to comment were immediately called c**ts and t**ts. It was nothing but a haven for under-educated trash to unleash their impotent anger on anyone they deemed “other:” liberals, women, the LGBTQ community, and, especially, black and brown people. Good riddance.

  36. Jim Erickson says:

    I think comment sections & social media bring down the decorum in society. Everyone with a keyboard thinks they’re a writer. It is not lost on me that I am saying this in a comments section !

  37. Bob Boyd says:

    Just stop posting comments from ANYONE who is not smart enough to use good grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Problem solved.

  38. Bob Boyd says:

    I posted a comment a little while ago. When I returned to look at reactions, I found my comment was no longer there. It was CERTAINLY not offensive. Looks like you aren’t any different from MSN, giving “lip service” to the First Amendment. Would LOVE to hear back from you, but I guess it’s just easier to delete than it is to give actual THOUGHT, and respond, huh?

  39. MARK says:

    If you don’t let me have a say then your comments section will die along with your website…..

  40. Randy says:

    “I am offended.” now means that “I am right and you’re wrong.” and is the new mantra of the snowflake and millennial generation and will no doubt have support for a constitutional amendment of some kind to ‘liberate’ us from the possibility of being offended.

  41. Brad says:

    TheBlaze still allows comments, and the level of discourse seems much higher than MSN’s now-defunct system. People at TheBlaze are actually able to discuss issues without attacking each other … but of course that’s the part that many MSN readers found entertaining.

  42. slope says:

    It is a very strange move for MSN to make, as the comments section was the only thing worth while about the travesty known as MSN news. It is very poorly written ofen wildly inaccurate, and to the point of often being nearly incomprehensible. I will miss the MSN comments section but I will not miss visting MSN news page

  43. Martin says:

    That comment section was among the few things I had the chance to share my philophical opinions with people! Thanks for breaking that over a few punks who liked to mess around!

  44. gary says:

    That old saying “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” was quite helpful while reading the comments section. After discovering a few close friends or acquaintances were off the deep end, so to speak (drastically right or left of center), I had the ability to pick my battles carefully.

    Now I don’t know who the nut bars are until it’s too late.

  45. Smith says:

    MSN… your news stories were, and I quote ‘Abusive & Offensive’

  46. ouellet151 says:

    msn put back the comment section, its freedom of speech you know…….

  47. Mary says:

    I don’t believe it was taken down because people were voicing their opinion I believe it was taken down because people were very rude to each other. The name calling and degrading of many people in the comments was deplorable. I had to use an old picture of myself when I was young as my cover photo on Facebook because I was called awful names and I figured if I used an old picture showing when I was young and attractive people would be nicer. I don’t know why I was called the names I was called because I never, ever posted rude comments.

  48. MattyBear says:

    MSN just got tired of people being able to express themselves, and I resent it. I hardly ever go to MSN any more because they have removed the comment ability, because I found the responses much more informative than the actual article, knowing that some (not all) commenters have more intelligence than the reporters at MSN. What MSN did will end up hurting them, just like KOMO 4 did when they removed the comment ability that was NEEDED. A lot of times, the articles themselves were loaded with errors or inaccuracies, and we commentators functioned also as proofreaders. So MSN shot themselves twice with their comment removal system.
    A lot of people who have the day off look forward to intelligently discussing articles with other commentators, and now have to go elsewhere, which translates to MSN as fewer page views, which sub-translates into fewer ad clicks, which translates further into revenue loss. Good going, Microsoft! Who was the genius on your team who said, “Let’s get rid of the comments section, that’ll show ’em!”
    He or she needs to be dismissed. Right now. Until then, we will all migrate over to Yahoo where they know the value of feedback that Microsoft has tossed to the wind.

  49. Jeffrey Derouin says:

    now the snowflakes have another safe space… all good good by Falicia

  50. Rpgbron says:

    Abusive and offensive, huh? I am abused and offended in a daily basis by hypocritical, unethical propaganda that is being passed off as news, by the biased “liberal” press, which no longer even bothers with any pretense of objectivity whatsoever. As far as exactly who is being abusive and offensive? Just look above! Bunch of deplorable! Brainwashed Trumpanzees! I especially enjoyed the amazing hypocracy of the “uneducated trash” insult. Hey pot, meet kettle!

    Yahoo’s cut off comments now too. I’d say “so much for free speech”, but I also can see how much credibility the so-called “mainstream media” has been losing — along with their audiences. Not to mention, the number of elections.

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