The Guardian’s report on Internet comments leads to debate on content control vs free speech

The Guardian has published an extensive report entitled ‘The dark side of Guardian comments’. The report studies the 70 million comments that have been left on the website since 2006. It finds that of the many abusive comments analysed, most are targeted at female journalists and journalists of colour, noting that even moderate insults can result in an ‘avalanche’ of hate. The Guardian also notes it blocks hundreds of comments each day due to their insulting language. The report has sparked a debate on whether such comments should be censored or not, and what the criteria for such censorship should be. One article even talks about ‘The Guardian’s promotion of straight-up moral panic about the Internet,’ which ‘speaks to a new ideology of censorship.’ A good summary of the debate can be found in this Vox article.