Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blogger and Censorship


Google has announced a new adult content policy for Blogger.  Starting March 23, 2015, bloggers won't be able to publicly share images and videos that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.  Google says that they will "still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit. For example, in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts."  Bloggers says that if an existing blog doesn’t have any sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video on it, that you won’t notice any changes.

If an existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, the blog will be made private after March 23, 2015.  Blogger says that no content will be deleted, but private content can only be seen by the owner or administrators of the blog and the people who the owner has shared the blog with.

Several years ago when Blogger began to shut down many gay blogs, I decided to remove anything I deemed overtly sexually explicit or contained graphic nude images or videos from my blog.  At the same time, I also removed the adult content warning.  However, I do still post some nudity on my blog, but mostly only male behinds.  I never post an exposed penis, nor an erect penis.

I have several issues with Blogger's explanation of the new policy because it is too vague and ambiguous.  There needs to be a specific policy to explain what Google/Blogger will determine as what will be deemed not to "offer substantial public benefit."  Who will determine what is substantial?  The answer most likely is that it will be either google workers or some computerized search technique they will use.  I've had a few problems with Blogger in the past with their AdSense revenue sharing program.  It never produced much money, but a little here and there always hoped.  However, AdSense, even though I conformed to their policy, decided that my blog was in violation of their policy.  Though I emailed them numerous times, I was never given an explanation.  I'm afraid they will do the same with their new policy.

Some of the blogs I read daily, do contain sexual content.  Steve's "All Natural and More" is one of my favorite blogs.  I follow it and check it out each day.  I love the pictures that Steve shares, but I also love the newsworthy items that he shares on his blog.  Since I am a follower of Steve's blog, will I lose access to this blog if it is deemed "pornographic" or will I have to ask for permission to follow his blog or other blogs that are made private that I follow?  Will blogs that are converted to private still appear on my Dashboard?  These are just some of the many questions that Blogger should be answering, but is remaining silent about.

It is simple censorship.  A blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic, sometimes those topics are sexual in nature. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of a blog.  I've met many great people through blogging.

What upsets me is that a blog is an extension of your personality.  Often bloggers are anonymous so that they can freely express a part of their personality that they may not be able to express to the public world around them.  This is especially true of closeted gay bloggers.  By censoring us, of what Google/Blogger may or may not deem to offer substantial public benefit, they are taking away a large part of what blogging is about.  I do not believe that my blog is in violation of their new policy, but if one day they deem it to be in violation, please remember my dear readers that I have a mirror blog at closetprofessor.wordpress.com.  If this blog does get caught up in Blogger's censorship campaign (I hope it won't), I will continue to post on my WordPress site.

Just as a side note, look at that picture above.  It is a picture of one of the most beautiful men that I've ever seen, yet I had to censor it to make it appropriate for this blog.  As beautiful as that man is, I do not believe it is a pornographic picture simply because he is (1) naked, (2) shows his penis, or even that (3) he has an erection.  It is a beautiful picture of a beautiful man, and to me, that makes it art and worth sharing.  Besides, I find something incredibly sexy about a man in nothing but a white dress shirt.

UPDATE:

Writing for Google's Blogger Team, Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio said that users whose blogs were consistent with Blogger's existing policies (including the labeling of adult content) would not need to make any changes.

"We've had a ton of feedback," Pelegio said, "in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn."

12 comments:

Susan said...

Thank you for this post, Joe. I agree will all you said and sadly do not understand Blogger's position at all.

Blobby said...

Google's hypocrisy is showing, of course:

Goooooge image 'blowjob' or 'gay anal sex' and see how many thousands of images come up.

Unless they're willing to take all their material down too.....well.....how can they hold their users to the same standards?

And the joke is, most of those blogs have 'adult warnings' in which you have to click to acknowledge. No such warnings exist if you go to Google images.

Michael Dodd said...

I have a friend who, although he has not been notified of any complaints about content and tries to keep the images SFW as much as possible, has decided to take his blog down in a week or two. He has been announcing this for the past few days and is already receiving complaints from readers. He says he may choose to make it available to a limited few. The problem with this solution is that new readers are most unlikely to stumble across it and discover something they might like. And if it is going to reach only people he already knows, he could just do a group email and be done with it.

There are plenty of blogs I find extremely offensive because of their political and even religious content, much of which I think is socially destructive and dangerous to the young and impressionable. Are they being censored? I think not.

greenbeltandy said...

I deplore any attempt to censor the Internet. Not only sexual content, but other forms of expression as well. The Internet gives a voice to the voiceless, for those who want to espouse ideas and causes that are not in the mainstream or even being suppressed.

JiEL said...

Here is the reason why GOOGLE is going to shut down many gay sites..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2967200/Google-Blogger-ban-sexually-explicit-content.html

storyman3119 said...

This is Jay of Horny Fiction. I am assuming that even written content will be included into being banned. I am trying to plan on my next move. Any help from you will be greatly appreciated. Love Jay

hornfiction.blogspot.com

storyman3119@gmail.com

Jay M. said...

I've already been google-nuked. Screw 'em and move to Wordpress.

Peace <3
Jay

silvereagle said...

Damn!!! I am an adult and can censor what I need to censor...I do not need big daddy to do it. Will keep the wordpress in mind.

Thanks for the warning...

Amanda said...

I just don't see what Google hopes to accomplish with this. I'll follow your blog wherever you go so please keep writing even if Google decides to censor you. And yes, that man and picture is hot. :)

Jay M. said...

Cancelled, if you haven't noticed.

Peace <3
Jay

Anonymous said...

Name of the model in the photo? Or the uncensored version?

Joe said...

I believe the model is Blake from SeanCody.com, but I am not 100 percent sure.