Lee Enterprises Logs in Montana to Crack Down on Social Media Trolls and Hate Speech | State and Region

Jeff Welsch, Lee Enterprises

As journalists, those of us who produce content for Lee Enterprises’ five Montana newspapers believe strongly in freedom of expression.

But freedom of expression is not always without consequences and ramifications. Consider shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.

The same goes for our social media pages, which since their inception have included reasonable rules of engagement with the aim of ensuring civil discourse – making it clear that violators would be subject to hidden posts and outright bans. and simple.

Unfortunately, our pages on Facebook and Twitter have become landing pages for too many trolls, bots and content that we would never allow in print or online.

So, starting this week, we are committing to more rigid oversight, regardless of political beliefs or affiliation. In addition to hiding posts or banning profane or obscene content and language, hate speech or bullying, personal attacks, and content that promotes, encourages, or perpetuates discrimination, we will also ban outright trolls and simple.

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To help limit such consequences, Lee Montana has compiled a (long) list of inappropriate words and phrases that will be automatically removed or hidden. This list is up on Facebook pages associated with the Billings Gazette, The Montana Standard, Helena Independent Record, Missoulian, and Ravalli Republic.

Our fervent hope is that our social media accounts will be a place where readers with a wide variety of perspectives can freely participate in civil discourse about what matters most to Montana people.

Thank you to our readers for making Montana’s digital newspapers one of the fastest growing in the industry.

Those with questions should contact Montana editor Jeff Welsch at [email protected]

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