Google (GOOG) has announced that people who have written content used in Google News of subjects covered in articles in the service will be able to comment on the content.
It is a mad idea that will probably lead to hundreds of libel suits and thousand of posts using pseudonyms.
The Wall Street Journal writes that Google is "began soliciting comments from individuals and groups cited in stories it carries." The news digest service takes articles from 4,500 sources. As one expert said, commenting on possible flaws in the model: "What if someone fakes them out and compounds some problem that’s in a story?"
Yes, what happens indeed. Comments will likely range into the tens of thousands a day. Many of the commentators will have axes to grind and this will bring retorts from the people who wrote the story. Verifying identities will be a nightmare.
The news is about to become one huge message board, bought to you by Google.
Douglas A. McIntyre