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Censorship Google Social Networks The Media Your Rights Online

Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View 285

Ellie K writes As of 23 March 2015, Google will remove blogs on its Blogger platform that don't conform to its new anti-adult policies. This is an abrupt reversal of policy. Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression." The linked article quotes the message which has been sent to Blogger users thus: (...) In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content. The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.
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Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

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  • Oh great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:13AM (#49118943)

    NOW where am I going to go for my sexual content?

  • Do no evil... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:14AM (#49118953) Homepage

    Good thing that the definition of "evil" is sooooo malleable.

    • Re:Do no evil... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:19AM (#49119011)

      That was a long time ago. Google has ignored that line the minute they became a publicly traded company. Every decision they make is how to benefit their stockholders.

      • Google has ignored that line the minute they became a publicly traded company.

        Which rises some interesting questions about the true nature of the stock market.

        Every decision they make is how to benefit their stockholders.

        No, because making censorship more socially acceptable through its omnipresence hurts stockholders too. What Google is maximizing is the value of holding Google stock: even if a decision hurts everyone, it's okay as long as it hurts stockholders less than non-stockholders.

        Perhaps the ongo

      • by dj245 ( 732906 )

        That was a long time ago. Google has ignored that line the minute they became a publicly traded company. Every decision they make is how to benefit their stockholders.

        Oh really? Because it sounds like they are basically shutting out the adult industry from their Blogger platform. If they wanted to maximize money, they would analyze adult content and serve up relevent ads, the same as any other industry. Budweiser certainly doesn't have a problem with selling alcohol to strip clubs. Johnson & Johnson doesn't take offense when adult stores stock K-Y Jelly. Google's business is analyzing data and serving up ads. Not leveraging a specific type of data to make money

      • by Mirar ( 264502 )

        Just at long as it's raising shareholder value (short term will do).

    • The NYT doesn't publish racy advertisements or articles either. Because they are Evil!

    • Really? This is what you call evil?
    • Google doesn't want to run a porn site. That makes them evil?

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:17PM (#49119523) Homepage

        Until today, Google allowed "images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity," and stated that "Censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression."

        Not running a porn site, not evil.

        Back pedaling on their stance on censorship, evil.

        At this point, I more or less assume that Google is a multinational corporation which will do whatever the fuck it wants, and that any claims of "do no evil" have long since been wiped out by the sheer amount of evil they actually do.

        Google cares about one thing, and that's their revenue stream.

        Pretty much everything else they do is just standard greedy, evil corporation ... no matter what story they like to tell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:16AM (#49118969)

    your body is evil.

  • Copyright issue? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:19AM (#49118999)

    I wonder if this isn't motivated at least in substantial part by copyright concerns. A huge portion of adult content posted is in violation of copyright, and if Google was seeing that they were getting DMCA notices for adult content on Blogger at rates that far exceed the overall average, and the cost/effort of responding to those notices was outstripping the ad revenue from the adult blogs, then maybe they just decided it's not worth it.

    Purely speculation on my part, but it wouldn't surprise me.

    • Re:Copyright issue? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:23AM (#49119065)

      I thought the same thing.

      The VAST majority of pornographic images/videos on the various sites are being used without permission (as the joke goes "Who pays for porn on the internet?"). The porn industry has been more aggressive in trying to stop that in recent years. Google either got a pile of DMCA notices from some porn producers, or is trying to AVOID getting DMCA notices.

      • Who's watching pro porn anymore?

        The trend in adult content seems to be amateur, whether that means actual amateurs in purloined home-made photos and videos or "prosumer" amateurs where some money changed hands but nobody other than the male/cameraman/site owner (the same guy) is actually trying to make a living at it -- certainly the female talent doesn't seem to be a prototypical porn star.

        And even when the content is for sale, the same companies selling it often have all you need to see for free on their

    • by dablow ( 3670865 )

      Why not just say that in the press release?

      I mean at the end of the day the result is the same. However I would consider that explanation as "plausible" (I still would not buy it without some verifiable facts posted along with it).

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@worf.nCOUGARet minus cat> on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:47PM (#49119721)

        Why not just say that in the press release?

        I mean at the end of the day the result is the same. However I would consider that explanation as "plausible" (I still would not buy it without some verifiable facts posted along with it).

        Actually, it's more like a few conservative flash mobs went and complained.

        Remember when Apple was forced to remove all porn apps from the App Store? I'm sure it wasn't because they wanted to, but there's a group of dedicated social conservatives who do nothing but complain about anything even remotely explicit.

        Think back to the superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" - it probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere if not for the group being vocal in their complaints. When the FCC decided to filter out mass complaints of their nature, well, they went after the next target - Apple.

        And you can easily bet they're the ones flagging tons of videos off YouTube, and probably they discovered Blogger.

        Hell, I won't be surprised if they discover Android next and start getting all the more explicity apps there removed. (Yes, you can sideload, but that cuts down your visibility tremendously, and sideloading these kind of apps is already sort of questionable, given they're very ripe vectors for getting malware on Android).

        These sort of groups will stop at nothing to ensure society is clean and full of "pure Christian values".

    • While that may be true, what would be the harm in saying they were taking them down over copyright issues, as opposed to taking them down in direct contrast to their previous statement? What is so bad about the truth?
      This is like when the hotels put up signs that say "In order to protect the environment, we will only trade out the linens every other day", instead of saying "In order to make more money for our stockholders, we will only trade out the linens every other day."
      • If you say "we're doing it because of copyright," then you get everyone saying "hey, my material doesn't violate copyright," and Google's in a place it DEFINITELY doesn't want to be, which is proactively checking content for violations.

        Agreed on the linens thing - I like Starwood's approach on that - if you don't want your room made up, they give you a discount or some extra points.

    • Or maybe the blogs were being blocked at many schools, businesses and libraries limiting their usefulness and by proxy having much of their non-sex content censored....

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:22AM (#49119051) Homepage

    Google's usual spin to try to sound equitable and egalitarian. They're anything but. Remember the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Remember when Google took payments from BP to redirect search queries to results that pointed to pro BP (PR agency) websites and religated real journalism and articles about public concern to the back pages of search results that rarely, if ever get seen? Isn't that efectively censorship that's against the public interest?

    • by dablow ( 3670865 )

      Yes you are correct it, it is censorship and it is against the public interest.

      However when you use their services, they can do with them as they please since they own the servers, the software and their end of the bandwidth.

      Worst part is that there is nothing you can (realistically) do about it. Government is of no help, since they like censorship more than corporations.

    • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:44AM (#49119253)

      Google's usual spin to try to sound equitable and egalitarian. They're anything but. Remember the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Remember when Google took payments from BP to redirect search queries to results that pointed to pro BP (PR agency) websites and religated real journalism and articles about public concern to the back pages of search results that rarely, if ever get seen? Isn't that efectively censorship that's against the public interest?

      You mean when BP bought ads on Google based on Deepwater Horizon-related search terms? The same ads that anybody could have purchased, and that were clearly marked as ads? Nobody was being "redirected," unless you think that the law firms that buy ads on "mesothelioma" looking for clients for asbestos lawsuits are somehow "redirecting" searchers from the mesothelioma web page?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:50AM (#49119305) Homepage Journal

      Remember when Google took payments from BP to redirect search queries to results that pointed to pro BP (PR agency) websites and religated real journalism and articles about public concern to the back pages of search results that rarely, if ever get seen?

      No, because it didn't happen. BP bought some adwords, the same as anyone else can, and they were displayed in the same way as anyone else's. There was no redirection. It didn't knock news articles off the front page because adwords don't work like that. They don't alter search results, just display a clearly marked advert along side those results.

      Google doesn't want porn on its blogging service. Fair enough, they don't owe you anything, run your porn site on your own dime.

      • Oh, yeah? Well, I'll make my own porn site. With blackjack! And hookers! Actually, forget the porn site. And the blackjack...

    • Interesting information, and also finds some use for bing.
  • by davecb ( 6526 ) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @11:30AM (#49119121) Homepage Journal

    The full quote is Voltaire's, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

    I'm unimpressed by Google's position: in other countries they push back against restriction on free speech. It seem incongrous to impose speech limitations in the US, which actually has the right to free speech as part of their constitution.

  • Adult? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    There are fewer pieces of more obvious Newspeak than so-called "adult" content. When did "this is adult content" become synonymous with "for juveniles only" ?

    David Anderson

    • There are fewer pieces of more obvious Newspeak than so-called "adult" content. When did "this is adult content" become synonymous with "for juveniles only" ?

      Never. "Adult content" is an abbreviated version of "adult-oriented content", which is content that is NOT for juveniles. So, "adult content" has always been synonymous with "not for juveniles", and the fact that the adjective "adult" has been applied to the noun "content" should make that obvious. Content for everyone is called just "content"; the adjective is necessary to limit the scope.

      Just like people who say "I'd like you to meet my beautiful wife ..." are actually saying they have at least one ugly

  • Google's war on blogs continues, this time on their own properties. What they want is clear: move adult content onto some other host, and pay them to drive traffic to it since it won't show up in organic search anymore.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2015 @12:58PM (#49119813)

    We have grown used to using Google to search everything on the Web. If we suddenly are no longer able to google one particular kind of content, someone will offer their own search engine, supported by specialized advertising, for it. Economics will dictate that specialized search engines will not try to compete with Google in general search, so in a fairly short time I can see "googling" be replaced by use of a number of search engines for different kinds of activity. An unintended consequence may be that the half-mystical "deep Web" that Google cannot access will become just another specialized search arena, equal to all the others.

  • Anyone remember a small startup company whose slogan was "do no harm"?
  • ... Yahoo! groups was a "wild west" place to discuss just about any subject at all, period.

    You name it ... it was there.

    Some of the group headings got out of hand, like "14 year old boys," "8 year old girls," "gang rape," "snuff," etc.

    There was a big bang when parents were finally made aware of these groups and Yahoo!, reluctantly, brought the entire group tree down.

    It was a free site, so providing human monitors was out of the question, and the bad press for the Yahoo! brand offset the eyeball count.

  • Get your own domain name.
    Pay for your own hosting.
    Post whatever you want.
    Move to a new host any time you feel the need.

    Problem solved.

    IMHO, it's foolish to trust a free service to host something you care about and want to see continue indefinitely.

    • by Mirar ( 264502 )

      I think the point is that google once said: Come to us, you can play in our sandbox, use our stuff, create your account with us, you can do whatever you want... ...now they close down those services, one by one.

      Granted, this time, this event was rather minuscule.

      The question is: Why do they keep shutting down things?

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. -- Albert Einstein

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