The ‘Comments’ section is an essential and popular part of any online article and many might believe that this would reflect a representative view of the public when reading online websites. This, however, is not the case for some, and I hope what I write below will show you how the Comments Section can be and is being manipulated to give whatever ‘public opinion’ viewpoint, and often a false one, the particular website wants you to believe.
Over the past few months, after noticing an obvious discrepancy between positive and negative comments about Joachim Löw in the comments section of Bild articles and a mysterious ‘disappearing act’ some of our supportive comments about the Bundestrainer had made, several of us carried a ‘fair test’ by posting miscellaneous comments. The result was an emphasis on only negative comments towards Joachim Löw or those of a neutral nature being selected, whereas positive ones were not included.
The effect of this was, of course, to give an impression to online readers that the vast majority of football supporters in Germany were against Joachim Löw as national coach. Those who wished to voice their support of him in what is, after all, Europe’s biggest selling tabloid, appeared unable to do so.
And still it continues..
In Bild this morning, an article “Jogi & Hansi bleiben beim DFB” (Jogi and Hansi are staying with the DFB) reported on Spanish football magazine Marca’s rumour (and it is only rumour) that Joachim Löw could succeed Jose Mourinho as coach of Real Madrid. A further article from Marca had shown Jogi topped the poll among Spanish fans as to who they wanted to follow ‘The Special One’ at Los Blancos.
Bild quoted Marca as referring to Jogi as the “German elegance”, declaring the German team were a pleasure to watch and that, if it had not been for the Spanish national team, Jogi would have written himself into history with ‘gold letters’.
I responded to this article with the following comments:
Both comments are of course positive and in support of Jogi (you wouldn’t expect anything else, I know) and earlier two negative comments had been published as can be seen.
Previous experience had told me it was wise to take a screencap when both comments were published.
WITHIN HALF-AN-HOUR BOTH SUDDENLY ‘DISAPPEARED’!!
And now, at nearly 10.00 am, the only thing that can be seen are the two negative comments.
Do we actually know how many other positive, complimentary or supportive comments towards Joachim Löw have met the same fate? We don’t. And never will.
We all know Bild is a trashy newspaper and very few take what it says seriously, but it has a huge circulation. Anyone viewing this article, and associated comments, may quite naturally assume it to be a representative view among readers and that Joachim Löw has no support amongst football followers in Germany and most, if not all, do not rate the job he has done as Bundestrainer.
Nothing can be proved. I do know that.
But four comments this morning – the two positive ones deleted, whilst the two negative ones remain. Just draw your own conclusion!
Some four hours after my posting, I was advised that a friend (from a different country to myself and under a fresh account – to remove what could be any possible ‘blacklisting’ or account history) has now independently tested my theory.
They posted a remark which expressed delight at the news Joachim Löw and Hansi Flick were to stay with the German team. This was posted as a direct reply to an uncomplimentary remark. They watched as their comment remained there for 42 minutes.
And then vanished.
Needless to say, the uncomplimentary original remark remains.
(6 Dec 2012)
During the original research, I was ‘banned’ from posting on Bild after having made a number of articulate and well-reasoned comments within a 24-hour period. This apparently warranted a two-day banning order on me, while repetitive insulting and, frankly, abusive comments from one user were tolerated within the same 24-hour period.
Bild notified me by e-mail that: “Sachliche Kritik ist in der BILD.de-Community erwünscht, Beschimpfungen, anstößige Inhalte und Ähnliches nicht.” (Objective criticism is welcomed in the Bild community, offensive content and insults are not.)
So to read some of the comments they have allowed to remain attached to yesterday’s article, it is apparent that Bild’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.