CBC cuts comments towards First Nations

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

News website removes the comment section due to racist trolling

By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor

Generally speaking, websites are pretty complacent when it comes to toxicity; I mean, who even reads comments anymore anyway? CBC has taken it a step further, though. Rather than just ignoring what goes on in their comment section like most news websites, they decided to disable comments on certain stories entirely.

After noticing a disturbing trend regarding any story they published online that involved the First Nations people, CBC has decided that they will disable the comment section on any Aboriginal stories in the future. CBC claims that this is due to an overload of racist and inappropriate comments posted by users. Despite repeated attempts to filter the content of the comments, elimination of all inappropriate comments was not possible, leading the site administrators to this rather extreme decision.

The decision has not gone unopposed, though.

CBC has come under fire with accusations of being somewhat elitist. Criticism made by fellow news site The Rebel claims that the action eliminates the voice of working class or “grass roots” First Nations, while propagating the opinions of “millionaire chiefs.” The Rebel also claims that what is said in the comments section is as much a part of the story as the quotes used in the article itself. I personally find these accusations a little radical and extremely binary.

Where I see the problem lying is that the removal of the comments section is specific to First Nations stories, which is problematic because it comes off as white-washing. Yes, more often than not, when you have a news posting about any minority group, you are going to be faced with a lot of racist backlash. However, by eliminating the response platform entirely, but only doing so when the question of race is a factor, you are left with the singular opinion of the article’s author alone—and let’s be honest, CBC isn’t exactly known for its racial diversity when it comes to content creators.

Instead, it seems wiser to devolve back to the old ways of dealing with reader concerns, and remove the comment section from every story. This forces people to actually contact the web administrators, writers, and editors themselves, either through email or social media, as opposed to offering them an immediate, public outlet for every thought that enters their brain. This method has had quite a bit of success with websites like The Times and The Chicago Sun, and would probably be a better option than CBC’s current course of action.