Saturday 28 February 2015

Google Blogger Reverses its Ban on Sexually Explicit Materials

On February 23, 2015, I received an email from Google announcing a change of policy about sexually explicit materials. If you didn't remove such content by March 23, you ran the risk of Google hiding your blog. I don't post porn per se, but I have posted some images one could classify as erotic. I like to think of them as naughty and nice. I don't write erotica, but I have written about sex in more of a scientific, researched manner. At times, I have spoken about my own experiences to illustrate a point.

Was I going to see my blog disappear? Would I have to go through the herculean effort of transferring a zillion blog posts from Blogger to some other system? Talk about fretting. I need another thing on my plate like I need a hole in the head.

Just four days later, Google reverses its decision.

From Google's Social Product Support Manager, Jessica Pelegio, as of February 27, 2015 at 2am (?)

Hello everyone,

This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, 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.

Blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as “adult” so that they can be placed behind an “adult content” warning page.

Bloggers whose content is consistent with this and other policies do not need to make any changes to their blogs.

Thank you for your continued feedback.

The Blogger Team

This is where I wipe my brow and breathe a sigh of relief. The world has been saved. My world has been saved. When the elephant stomps its feet, the mouse can only try to stay out of the way. There is no choice. However, it would seem a bunch of mice, many mice, can sway the elephant and make it change its mind.

When I first wrote about Google's decision, I looked at other platforms like WordPress.Com and Pinterest which allow the erotic, but stop short of permitting what's sexually explicit. Tumblr, now owned by Yahoo, takes a very reasonable and I would say mature adult approach to the whole question. If you object to materials on Tumblr, it is your responsibility to not look. Yes, Tumblr is not going to censor the materials, you have to censor yourself. Like Blogger, Tumblr does have an "adult content" setting and requires publishers to adhere to the policy of marking one's materials for adult consumption only, but from there, it would seem just about anything is permitted. Out of curiosity, I Googled various topics on Tumblr to see how outrageous outrageous really is and found images and video for anal fisting, urolagnia (golden showers), and coprophilia (scat or defecating). Heck, I was worried about my blog being censored? Holy cow! (By the way, I am always amazed at the depth and variety of human sexuality. I don't condemn as long as it's "safe, sane, and consensual". Personally though, I'll stick with something a little more pedestrian.)

I'll end by repeating what I said when this all started. In our culture, moralists look upon sex as a dangerous, corrupting influence but seem to have no qualms about violence.

A TV network censored a sequence of John Steinbeck's The Red Pony, which showed a mare giving birth, but broadcast the rather hideous sequence from The Godfather showing a beheaded horse. - Youth, Sex and the Media, CyberCollege: quoted in my blog: Censorship: Kill me but no sex please - Oct 29/2010

Norman Herr, Professor of Science Education at the California State University states using data from A. C. Neilson:
The average child will watch 8,000 murders on TV before finishing elementary school. By age eighteen, the average American has seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV, including 40,000 murders. -quoted in my blog: Censorship: Kill me but no sex please - Oct 29/2010

Are we concerned about the right things?

Tony Campolo (b 1935), Baptist minister, American sociologist, author, public speaker
"I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night."
-quote from The Progressive, Aug 2005


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