Hacked Off report exposes racism and fake news in newspaper comment sections

  • Report reveals some newspapers and their pet complaints-handler IPSO have failed to stop fake news and racist abuse on their platforms – despite campaigning for Facebook & Twitter to be regulated
  • Abusive comments & fake news left up for over three months
  • IPSO claim to regulate comment sections – no evidence this is happening
  • Govt plans to exempt newspaper comments from “Online Harms” regulation branded “irrational”, “dangerous”, and “smacking of government & press collusion”



Hacked Off has today released a new report titled “Racism and Fake News in the Wild West of newspaper comment sections.” It sets out the findings of a review of newspaper comment sections which found “fake news”, conspiracy theories and racist language had been published in comments and remained accessible for, in some cases, at least three months.

The report can be read here.



Policy Director Nathan Sparkes said:


“Our review of newspaper comment sections found more than four dozen examples of fake news, conspiracy theories and racist abuse. But IPSO have failed to take action on a single one.


“Either IPSO consider fake news and racist content permissible or they are guilty of shocking  incompetence.


“The Government is planning to regulate every social media platform apart from those operated by powerful billionaire newspaper publishers. Its approach is irrational and endangers the public as much as online abuse and disinformation on Facebook and Twitter. It smacks of the worst kind of collusion between press and government.


“We urge the Government to get serious about Online Harms and the dangers they pose to all of us, by introducing an effective regime which captures dangerous online harms wherever they occur.”



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