I see having logged in to my ToddisGod blog on Blogger this week that Google has announced that as of 23 March, there will be an end to porn, or to be exact no explicit material – ‘ images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity ‘ will be allowed on Blogger unless it offers “public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.” Erm ok. Anyone with a blog containing content deemed ‘explicit’ post 23rd will find their site defaulted to ‘private’ – so will no longer be visible to anyone other than the blog ‘owner’.
Aside from making the Daily Mail happy (they are already taking credit for the move) I’m not sure what the purpose of this is. Are they appeasing the owners of pictures and videos featured on these sites – coming to the defence of those who feel their copyright has been abused? Hardly. This is Google we’re talking about, although I’m sure content owners will be interested that Google is prepared to be proactive in censoring for its own purposes. Helping to protect children from adult content perhaps? I’m sure they’ll be happy to be thought of as doing so, but again, no. Maybe Google are just fed up on providing a free platform for people to sell/share porn? No idea.
It just feels a bit odd to me. Blogger already has an ‘adult’ Content Warning, which pops up – “The blog that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog”. You then have to click to proceed if you still wish to view the site. What’s wrong with this approach? It’s simple, it works. Unless anyone is publishing content that is actually illegal, what is the problem? This is the same Google whose search engine is the biggest porn engine on the planet.
I have this bizarre image on a sad man in a darkened room looking at thousands and thousands of blogs – and EVERY video and image ‘in context’ , to decide whether each blog’s content offers “public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.” Clearly Google has no intention of doing this and will target everyone and then deal with individual appeals. I’d like someone to offer up the argument that they know many members of the public that derive a benefit from viewing porn, so their blog should be passed under the ‘public benefit’ defence.
Also what exactly is ‘graphic nudity’? Seriously, can someone at Google provide a definition for this one? And how exactly does if differ from ‘sexually explicit’? Given that Google is using this as a criteria can they provide some handy definitions for these terms? Or will Google just ‘know it when they see it’?