Boston.com Facebook “like” feature can be inappropriate

I was chilling on vacation this past week when I came across a Boston Globe article online (on Boston.com) about Philip Markoff (the alleged “Craigslist killer”). It was about how he had scrawled his ex-fiancee’s name  in blood on the wall of his cell before killing himself.

This article shocked me, as I hadn’t previously heard Markoff had committed suicide (due to being in Montreal/away from my computer).

It also surprised me because there was a Facebook “like” feature toward the top of the article (it has since been moved below the article).

By clicking on the “like” button you could “like” the article. It showed that 18 people had already “liked” the article. Reading this gave me a bad taste in my mouth. Boston.com was advertising that 18 people had liked how an allegedly twisted man had supposedly performed this twisted act during his suicide, and encouraging others to do the same (like the article)?

I know there are always sick people out there, but why does Boston.com have to seemingly go out of its way and expose/support their strangeness?

Anyway, my boyfriend, an avid Globe reader (buys a copy EVERY day), emailed Boston.com about this feature. His main points were that the feature “devalues and de-emphasizes the seriousness of a story of this nature.” He said it’s not the Globe’s fault that people would “like” such an article, but that it shouldn’t be promoting that more people do so. He said he understands that news outlets want to embrace social media, but that in some cases the like feature isn’t appropriate.

Just like Boston.com doesn’t allow people to comment on certain articles, it shouldn’t let people “like” certain articles, he argued. He got a response thanking him for his feedback, and stating that his comments have been forwarded to the editorial and product teams for review.

Since then I’ve noticed the “like” feature was moved to below the article where’s it’s less prominent. That’s a start I suppose. Though now one can see that the number of people who’ve “liked” the article has increased to 38!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Advice, boston, Facebook, Journalism, Newspaper, Strange

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3 Comments on “Boston.com Facebook “like” feature can be inappropriate”

  1. Jeff Says:

    I’ve used the “Like” feature when I’ve read about the BP Oil spill or cruelty to animal articles, not because I like oil on the beach or hurting kittens, but because the article should come to more people’s attention.
    It may be a similar situation with this article.

  2. Christine Laubenstein Says:

    That is a good point, Jeff. Maybe people like the journalism, or are glad to know what’s going on. I guess maybe a compromise was that the like feature was placed at the bottom of the page.


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