Adam Wakefield, News24
Johannesburg – Dictators, cowards, ANC loyalists.
This is how some News24 users described the website editors who announced on Tuesday that the comments section would be closed by the end of the week.
Editor-in-chief Andrew Trench’s column announcing the decision had received over 1 000 comments by 14:00, with many threatening to boycott the website, and some applauding the decision.
#news24comments was also top trending on Twitter.
Critics cried censorship and accused News24 of bowing to political pressure.
User Ani MalFarm was first out the gate, stating: “Silencing the voices of ordinary people. One step even closer towards dictatorship.”
Patrick Winter533 said: “The way many of the articles are written and the headlines used are often triggers to the comments made. I think News24’s hit rate and advertising revenue may decline rapidly as a result of this brave move”.
Pricalla Maguma Chibvamushure wryly wrote:, “Only came here for the comments” while Janine Roberts Owen pithily posted “They are cowards”. She was followed by Corrupted Zuma, who voiced the opinion of many of those commenting by writing, “Goodbye News24”.
On Twitter, the reaction appeared to be somewhat different.
A majority of Twitter users appeared to either agree or poke fun at the reaction to the decision