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Viafoura Displaces Facebook at the Times-News

Yet another publisher is bidding farewell to Facebook and welcoming Viafoura to maximize their return on engagement and grow their online audience.

The Times-News in Burlington, N.C., announced on Monday that it would be launching its new commenting system across its digital property. Prior to making the move to Viafoura, the newspaper relied heavily on Facebook commenting to allow users to engage with one another about current events.

Although the Facebook platform was recognizable within the newsroom and fairly simple, the platform lacked the sophistication to meet their needs. Between cumbersome character limits on keyword filters and lacklustre profanity blocking, the social media plugin proved too clunky when it came to moderating digital discourse, according to Executive Editor Madison Taylor.

“In the Facebook commenting world even the worst language and most hideous thoughts could only be partially hidden … we had little control,” he said in a blog post informing the paper’s readership of the switch.

Taylor sung the praises of Viafoura Audience Development Platform, saying its primary benefit is its ability to facilitate more discussion and harness the value of online commenting.

So why are we going to this system and shedding Facebook?” Taylor says. “It’s because Viafoura seems to be about what our website is hoping to evolve into — a place where people come and stay awhile, not just to get updated local and state news but also converse with others or open the window wider to people who want to take a peek.”

“In the Facebook commenting world even the worst language and most hideous thoughts could only be partially hidden … we had little control.”
—Madison Taylor

He highlighted a few of Viafoura’s distinguishing features, including liking, disliking, and rating comments, as well as the ability to promote the best conversations and better police the trolls. Rather than allowing “trolls to win,” The Times-News will use Viafoura Audience Development Platform to build a more engaged online community with elevated discourse and increased civility, thanks to simple yet effective moderation tools to keep those nasty comments at bay.

“Viafoura is based on the noble idea that it’s possible to build a healthy atmosphere for people to share opinions and ideas,” Taylor said. “Often this is undermined by abusive language, threats, cyberbullying or information that could be considered inflammatory or libellous. Refereeing this is more difficult than determining a catch in the NFL.”

To view Taylor’s full post, visit his Times-News blog.

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