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SB: TUT.by pays for comments. Editorial staff’s response

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Image: erictippetts.com

An article describing how commentators on Belarusian forums ‘are manipulating people’ has appeared on the website of the Presidential Administration's newspaper Belarus Segodnya - sb.by. The author doubts that the comments under the article about high school boy Danat Skakun who was returned guilty of attacking his Russian language and literature teacher are real. He has analyzed the comments with that help of the software Datacol and come to the conclusion that ‘a dozen of users are trying to make it look as if thousands of people were dissatisfied with the sentence pronounced to Danat Skakun’:

"I will show you the statistics to not sound proofless. There are 9654 comments under the article. 7693 (attention!) of them were written by 10 people! 80%! The most active users were oks_1964, sonya121071 and Vera_Komarova. Each of them wrote about a thousand messages!

Look at the article about compensation. There are 7929 comments. 85% (6762) were written by a dozen people. The same situation is observed in the other news of the kind.”

Yury Ziser: There are trolls. But you cannot call everyone who disagrees with the party line a troll

Founder of TUT.by Yury Ziser reacted to the article. Internet forums do not reflect the real correlation of opinions in the society but it is not that bad either, he noted. “There are always trolls on all forums. You cannot call everyone who disagrees with the party line (or with the author) a paid troll.”

Ziser also quoted Volha Sytsko (head of the website Talks.by) were TUT.by articles are discussed:

“SB has analyzed the comments to some TUT.by articles posted on our forums Talks.by. They believe that the result is true – they used special software and made their own conclusions.

The thing is, I personally know two of three of the so-called paid commentators and I can guarantee that they are expressing their real opinion. SB, your conclusions are absurd. Why analyze a sphere you know nothing about? Better call me next time.”