It seems comment isn’t free anymore.

PinkNews is adding a membership tier to its website, which will allow readers amongst other privileges to post comments on its site.

Adding comments, an “ad lite” experience and exclusive access to investigations and reporting are just some of the highlights the site says will become the honour of those who become MyPinkNews members.

PinkNews was forced to close its comment section after it said it was deluged with “large levels of transphobia, homophobia and racism by trolls”. When the new membership tier rolls out fully, everyone will be able to read the comments, but only those who have paid will be able to comment on stories. Commenters will also be controlled by a raft of restrictions aimed at keeping abuse of the website.

The website, which serves around 3.2 million people a month on its website, according to Similarweb, admitted that selling adverts on its site had become more difficult as Coronavirus decimates the marketing budgets of companies across the globe.

It wrote, “Now is a very hard time to be selling advertising. The majority of the ads that you see are sold programmatically, which we feel offers users a poor experience…. MyPinkNews users will not be shown display advertising aside from occasional public health or similar messaging.”

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The site said that it wouldn’t be paywalling its content as it conflicts with their mission statement and says that adding the yearly £50 subscription will funding investigations and analysis / commentary.

PinkNews is the first UK-based LGBT+ news outlet to install a subscription service of this nature.