Lee Enterprises papers in Montana to clamp down on social media trolls, hate speech

Jeff Welsch, Lee Enterprises

As journalists, those of us who produce content for Lee Enterprises’ five Montana newspapers are firm believers in free speech.

But free speech isn’t always without consequences or ramifications. Think yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

So it is with our social media pages, which since their inception have included reasonable rules of engagement in an attempt to ensure civil discourse – making it clear that violators would be subject to hidden posts and outright bans.

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

So starting this week, we’re committing to more rigid monitoring regardless of political persuasion or affiliation. In addition to post hiding or bans for profane or obscene language and content, hate speech or bullying, personal attacks and content that promotes, fosters or perpetrates discrimination, we will also ban outright trolls.

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In an effort to help limit such consequences Lee Montana has compiled a (lengthy) list of inappropriate words and phrases that will either be automatically removed or hidden. This list is in place

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