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We’re working to clean up the comments on Blog Preston and we need your support to achieve this

Posted on - 23rd June, 2020 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Opinion, Politics, Preston News
Black Lives Matter supporters at Flag Market protest Pic: Garry Cook
A first Black Lives Matter protest took place on the Flag Market on Wednesday 3 June Pic: Garry Cook

Running Blog Preston has increasingly involved monitoring comments posted in response to articles on our website and social media feeds, particularly on Facebook.

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In the past few weeks – in line with the growing number of conversations being held around the world on the subject of race – we have seen a rise in the number of discriminatory comments on Blog Preston posts.

This has been noticeable on articles directly linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, such as Black Lives Matter supporters to run Preston Guild Wheel, and on articles with no link at all, like Preston apprentice at United Utilities to become a very familiar face.

In response we have updated our community guidelines to specifically ask our readers to be tolerant and respectful. We have done our best to remove offensive comments and ban users who use discriminatory language.

While dealing with disrespectful comments is a sad part of running Blog Preston, we have now started to receive racist direct messages. One recent email said: “White lives matter aswell u no it is our country”.

We keep seeing a version of this line – All Lives Matter – in our comment sections on stories relating to the Black Lives Matter movement.

At Blog Preston we believe this is a misunderstanding of Black Lives Matter. Saying Black Lives Matter isn’t saying other lives don’t matter. It’s pointing out that black people’s lives are under threat from racism all around the world, and that includes here in Preston.

The unfortunate truth is that all you need to do is follow one of our stories relating to black or minority ethnic people to see it in action.

Our aim now is to ensure this is no longer the case, and that Blog Preston comment sections can no longer be hijacked by people seeking to spread hate and intolerance.

As an independent news site in a brilliant and diverse city, we are here to represent people of all backgrounds and opinions.

We don’t want to have to stop posting stories about the diversity of the city on our Facebook page, or website, because of the adverse comments they receive. To get there would be a dangerous place. Blog Preston should be free to write about any topic in the city.

We advocate freedom of speech, and we want our readers to continue to comment on our articles, but that does not include hate speech, or anything that could be interpreted as such.

We’re a small team at Blog Preston, so we need your help to achieve this aim.

If you see an offensive comment on Facebook, please send a screenshot to us via Messenger, and we will take action as soon as possible. You can also report hate speech directly to Facebook.

Our website uses the Disqus commenting system, which includes a flag icon you can click to report inappropriate content. If you see any offensive comments, please do use this function, and again we will take action as soon as possible.

Blog Preston stands against racism and discrimination in all forms. We hope you will stand with us.

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