Believe it or not, Facebook is making the internet a nicer place to be.
Apparently, the use of Facebook Comments on blogs and websites is resulting in higher quality discussions, as well as the expected increase in traffic. The reason for the new civility? Facebook’s accountability.
Poynter quotes the LA Times‘ online managing editor Jimmy Orr as explaining it as, “Trolls don’t like their friends to know that they’re trolls.”
Orr should know; the Times has been using both “regular” comments and Facebook comments side by side for months, and according to Orr, “the level of discourse – the difference – was pretty stunning,” explaining that the Facebook comments barely required any moderation, but the traditional commenting “immediately plunged into the lowest common denominator – racism, threats, vulgarity. It was night-and-day.”
This kind of accountability isn’t something that is going to be easily accepted by everyone online—think about the outcry about Google+ demanding real names be used—but it does suggest a potential way out of the occasionally frustrating, depressing world of comments sections ruled by fake names and attempts to win arguments with insults and shouting the loudest.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.