Comment moderation criteria

Criteria used when moderating comments on our online platforms

Sometimes readers complain about their comments or conversations on Times Media Community Newspapers website or Facebook pages being deleted. If you aren’t sure why your comments were deleted you can read through this guideline on the criteria that are used when moderating comments on our online platforms.

As a registered media organisation, Times Media Community Newspapers adhere to the South African Press Code on all our platforms, including the website and social media. Conversations and comments that won’t be published in print will therefore also not be published on our online platforms. Times Media Community Newspapers uses the following publishing criteria:

Comments containing any of the following are deleted and readers who continue to troll the page with comments of this nature are banned:

  • Swearing and profanity
  • Racism: comments targeting or singling out any race, ethnicity or a person or group based on the colour of their skin
  • Hate speech: comments that attack a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation etc
  • Incitement of violence of any kind
  • Xenophobia. This included comments calling on action against a person or group of another nationality than your own
  • Times Media Community Newspapers does not condone or support any such comments.
  • We take extra care when reporting on children and will therefore not host comments that:
  • Aim to identify children who have been victims of crime
  • Aim to identify the perpetrator of a crime against a minor if that identification makes it possible to identify the minor
  • Aim to identify children who have allegedly committed a crime
  • Any comments, conversations or images that involve children which can cause damage of any kind to the child

Dignity and reputation
Times Media Community Newspapers will not host comments that are made based only on race, unless the issue at hand is a racial issue. Comments trying to distinguish between South Africans of different races, comments that identify a person’s race without good reason or comments aimed at deliberately turning discussion into racial issues, are deleted.

Defamation
Defamation is a statement, comment, image or claim that injures a third party’s reputation. Comments that can be perceived as defamation to any person or company will be deleted.

Unverified information
Although we encourage readers to share their stories with us, Times Media Community Newspapers will not publish conversations, photos or videos if the source cannot be traced or has not been contacted by us personally to verify its factuality.

We do not report on crimes unless a case has been made with the police.

We exercise care to make sure the facts reported on Times Media Community Newspapers pages  are true and fair, or substantially true and accurate according to the information available at the time of posting. Therefore we won’t post updates, pictures or videos if we did not personally check the information.

This ensures that all updates you get from Times Media Community Newspapers are in accordance with the immediate information available.

In the event of unconfirmed breaking news, readers will be informed as such and Times Media Community Newspapers will confirm details as soon as possible.

Comments with links to other sites, which are not verified, will be deleted.

Times Media Community Newspapers does not host trolls:
An online troll is a person who starts arguments or deliberately upsets people on online platforms by posting inflammatory or off-topic comments or messages often with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. Anybody who disrupts normal on-topic discussions, deliberate or not, is also considered a troll. Any person who continually trolls the page will be banned from the page.

We ask that readers stick to the topic at hand when commenting on our pages.

Readers can moderate comments:
Although Times Media Community Newspapers moderates all comments as far as possible some might be overlooked. Readers have the right to report comments they find inappropriate – and help our page administrators with their task of moderating comments – by selecting the hide option next to a comment. The comment will be hidden from the page until Times Media Community Newspapers has reviewed it and decides whether to delete it or to republish it on the page.

Please also be aware that Facebook will mark some comments spam based on content (comments written only in upper case as example) and these won’t appear on the page until reviewed by us.

Readers who wish to bring attention to our report suspicious, contentious or inflammatory comments can email sonjar@timesmedia.co.za or mcharter@timesmedia.co.za to swiftly bring it to our attention.

Advertising:
Readers who post advertisements on Times Media Community Newspapers’ Facebook pages, in any form, will initially be asked to discontinue using the page for such purposes and will be banned from the page if they continue to do so. To advertise with us, email mcharter@timesmedia.co.za for a quote.

Pay-for content:
Times Media Community Newspapers’ does not charge readers for the use of our social media or for being part of our online community. However, some content is reserved for print only and protected online by a pay-wall. Readers will have to purchase our newspapers or subscribe to our e-editions to read this content.

Privacy:
All comments made by readers on Times Media Community Newspapers’ pages are made in a public domain and Times Media Community Newspapers will publish some of those comments in print as we see fit. Always keep in mind that what you say on our Facebook page is considered as your personal opinion made public and may be used on other platforms with your name, and profile picture, attached to it.