From now on, if you want to comment on The Huffington Post, you’re going to need a Facebook account. Anyone who wants to comment anonymously will have to apply for the privilege. Tim McDonald, HuffPost’s director of community, explained how the new system works:
When you log in to your account and go to make a comment, you will be prompted to link your commenting account to your verified Facebook account. Then, choose how you’d like your name to be displayed. You can either display your first and last names, or your first name and last initial.
The change was announced back in August, when Arianna Huffington announced that HuffPost was doing away with anonymous comments because of how harsh and ridiculous they can be. “We need to evolve a platform to meet the needs of the grown-up Internet,” Huffington said at the time.
Commenters are (of course) already expressing outrage.
One surely unintentionally hilarious person wrote, “I’ve lost 50 fans with this new policy and I am not happy! I don’t even know who they are but time will certainly tell.” Translation: I’m mad even though I recognize the reason why I’m mad makes no sense!
A few commenters said that this change would drive them away from HuffPost. “I followed the rules just so I could comment and now I am thinking of dumping Huff altogether,” wrote one. “I don’t know WHY they did this,” added another. “It sucks.”
Despite the initial anger from readers, you can’t blame HuffPost for trying. The problem is that requiring a Facebook account to comment won’t stop idiots from being idiots. Also, it’s rather easy to create a bogus Facebook account, which would allow people to stay anonymous if they really wanted to. Still, HuffPost’s heart is in the right place.
Eventually the opposition to the Facebook tie-in will die down, and things will return to normal. After all, every commenter who expressed irrational anger about HuffPost’s new commenting system could only do so by accepting HuffPost’s new commenting system.