Google, everybody’s favorite Internet Gatekeepers of Justice and Morality, have stepped up their pivotal role in the Pornocalypse with the news that their Blogger platform will cease to host sexually explicit material from March 23rd.
As Google’s updated policy states, any blog that contains “sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video” must be removed or it will be forcibly made private by Google.
Being made private doesn’t guarantee you an audience either. Private blogs are visible only to owners and admins, as well as anybody they share the blog in question with. Put simply, it’s another total whitewash.
If the whole situation wasn’t infuriating enough, Google’s new policy is a complete about-turn in regards to their earlier scribblings on the notion of privacy and freedom of expression. As they wrote in 2008 (a link helpfully tweeted out by Violet Blue):
“Google’s commitment to freedom of expression is at the core of everything we do — whether it’s independent media organizations using YouTube to express themselves in Venezuela, or citizen journalists using Blogger to chronicle Myanmar’s crackdown last year on Buddhist monk protests. Unfortunately, many governments around the world impose limits on their citizens’ freedom of speech, and that often leads them to block or limit access to our tools and services.”
Google’s lesson to their masses is thus: “Censorship is bad…until we do it!” The process has been gradual but no less destructive to those who either make money from porn blogs or those who, hey believe it or not, want to do it because they enjoy it. The domino effect in terms of potentially millions of links suddenly dying and disappearing will also wreak havoc on networks and relationships people will have cultivated.
Over a relatively short period of time, Google has refused to list many adult sites and also banned adult listings from its AdWords platform. That means Google won’t let you see sex, or indeed anything of a sexual nature, but have no qualms in granting free an easy access to material such as this:
Inevitably, the adult world (and frankly anyone with half a brain sparking in their cranium) did not take too kindly to Google’s boot to the adult biz’s throat. MiKandi and Tits & Glass founder Jen McEwen spoke at length in a typically fair and intelligent blog post about how Google’s squeezing of the adult industry is taking its toll on those just trying to make a living for themselves, as well as delving into the history of Google’s war against porn over the years.
The one upshot of this wretched 180 is that Tumblr may well fling open its doors to the masses of disgruntled Blogger users looking for a new home. Tumblr is not known for its fear of sexual expression and many users’ pages are chock-full of the great and good of explicit material that caters to the majority of kinks, tastes and fetishes. Let’s hope our soon-to-be Porn Refugees find a warm welcome.