A social project to cut out the haters and create a healthy community of readers on social media. «Daghe un tajo», this is the name of the initiative – important subtitle “The rule of respect” – was presented at Glocal, the journalism festival underway in Varese, by the directors of our magazine, Fabrizio Brancoli and Paolo Cagnan.
A project born last January and implanted on the Fanpage of the grandstand, a Facebook page followed by almost 150,000 people.
Daghe un tajo: the social campaign of the Treviso forum against verbal violence
“In this case,” Brancoli explained at the conference entitled “When you need to limit your readers” – we decided driven by exasperation and structured a campaign following the rule of respect. The name was born as an exhortation to ourselves and as an ultimatum to the haters. We wanted to use language that did not provoke confrontation, placing opinions in a way that was clearly distinguishable from facts, using sober titling and defending even those who became objects of hatred».
The grandstand, whose site traffic comes from Facebook in an insignificant amount, around 30 percent versus 55 percent in the best of times, has thus started banning the profiles of serial jammers discovering that these, despite making a large echo, were very few. This has rewarded the newspaper: a virtuous circle has been created whereby the platform’s algorithm has spread its contents more widely and engagement has grown as well as reach.
The force of prejudice
«Many publishing companies do not consider it strategic to be on social media correctly, for us this project has meant giving back to the community of readers our idea of community. We also asked our users to help us clean up and this happened. We must be careful in the use of irony because, in a polarized world, everyone arrives with their own prejudices – the so-called cognitive biases – and therefore we try not to create divisive patterns and use engagement as a stimulus to face the debate, which is not easy» says Cagnan.
The Giornale di Brescia whose director is Nunzia Vallini, did it in November 2020 a “Facebook lockdown” following the environmental toxicity that had arisen on the social network during the pandemic. The polluted narration of events involving newspapers and institutions has led the newspaper to self-censor its contents, initially selecting the news to be disseminated. Now the newspaper relies on artificial intelligence, digital communication consultancy and has drawn up a social media policy.
«The haters have even come to comment heavily on serious news events, such as assaults on young women. We have become “servants of power” and when the deaths from Covid in the Bergamo and Brescia areas, among the most affected, are questioned, you understand that you have to do a reclamation » concludes Vallini.
What others do
Brancoli and Cagnan also brought to Varese an analysis of what happens on the Fanpages of other local newspapers, after having studied almost 25 of them. Due to lack of personnel or specific training, most of these pages are a “link factory”, a collection of articles to drain traffic, rather than a virtual space in which to discuss (civilly) with readers, publish content originating from within it – and also clarify the positions of the newspaper editorially . Entrusting social networks to artificial intelligence means precluding any form of real interaction.