December 7, 2011

KETV Omaha Nebraska Requires a Facebook Account in Order to Comment: BIG DEAL or not?

12-7-2011 Nebraska:

Recently registered viewers of (Omaha Nebraska) received a message from KETV which is very disturbing and may be a trend, the message was:

"We wanted to take a moment to tell you about an important site improvement that will affect the way in which users comment on news stories on our website. Following a site improvement on October 20 commenting on news stories will require signing in through a Facebook account. This improvement will allow even more of the community to engage in news story commenting and provide a better overall site experience for all of our users. Because of the transition, existing commenting accounts will no longer be able to login.

This change does not affect your ability to upload photos and videos to u local with your existing u local account. We encourage you to continue to do so. You will also continue to be able to engage other u local members and comment on media within the u local section using your existing account.

Thank you "
Now, most folks would say, so what, and not comment if they do not have a Facebook account. Remember, Facebook prevents any registered sex offender from having a account, so they will automatically be prevented from expressing their opinions on any news story, especially important are those about sex offender issues which affects registrants.

This issue should not be dismissed lightly, because look who apparently owns (at the very bottom of their site) (click on "KETV Jobs" THEN "Hearst Television Inc Careers Home" and see what comes up), this is shocking, dozens of other stations across the country.

The question now is, is this change in "Commenting Policy" just for or does it apply to all stations apparently owned by Hearst Television? If there is any doubt that Hearst owns just review their "Privacy Policy" and there is nothing in the the "Terms of Use" for with respect to a requirement of a Facebook account in order to comment.

Folks may want to contact (they say they want to hear from folks) and complain about this apparent selection of who in the public may comment on news stories.

Finally, is this a local Omaha Nebraska Policy or nationwide? Likely only individual registered users of all their stations nationwide will know because they are not making it known publicly.

I would like to hear from folks if this is happening in other areas, please include the paper in question.


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