Arianna Huffington Speaks Out on Anonymous Comments & Freedom of Expression

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Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, poses for a portrait at the National Press Club, July 15, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
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Readers leave approximately 270,000 comments at HuffingtonPost.com every day.

But anonymous comments are no longer welcome. Beginning next month, the online news site will require users to comment on stories using their real names.

Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, says the site has garnered more than 260 million comments since it launched in 2005. According to Huffington, the reversal in policy is a move to promote civil conversations.

"It became clear that in order to maintain the kind of civil environment for conversations that we want we would need to end anonymity," Huffington tells The Takeaway. "We realize that ending anonymity does not mean ending negative commenting—but it does mean substantially reducing it."

The site will require a Facebook login to comment, forcing users to identify themselves. Current users will be grandfathered in and will be able to continue commenting as they are, for the most part.

"If they use ad hominem attacks or a comment that would not be allowed, in that case they'd have to identify themselves through a Facebook login," Huffington says. "Anonymity brings out the worst in people—we see that again and again."

Huffington joins The Takeaway to explain the company's decision.