Google’s Blogger banning sexually explicit content

Cover up or shut up: In a policy turnaround, Google is banning sexually explicit images and videos on its blogging platform, Blogger. If bloggers don’t clean up their blogs before March 23, Google says it will make those blogs private, visible only to its creators and certain other people they invite — basically the kiss of death for a blog.

Blogger’s previous policy read, in part: “We do allow adult content on Blogger, including images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity … All blogs marked as ‘adult’ will be placed behind an ‘adult content’ warning interstitial.” The policy includes the following language: “It is our belief that censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression.”

But Google reportedly said it’s changing its Blogger policy to fall in line with the rest of its services. For example, YouTube does not officially allow sexually explicit material, either. The new Blogger policy also has exceptions: “Note: We’ll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.”

Some longtime Blogger users aren’t happy.

“Either Google believes in freedom of expression, or it doesn’t,” Zoe Margolis, author of the Girl with a One Track Mind books and sex blog, told the Guardian. Margolis has been on Blogger since 2004.

Violet Blue, a sex blogger and author of books about sex, writes for ZDNet: “When Google forces its ‘unacceptable’ Blogger blogs to go dark, it will break more of the Internet than you think. Countless links that have been accessible on Blogger since its inception in 1999 will be broken across the Internet.”

The last time Google updated its Blogger policy was in 2013, when it banned adult-themed blogs from making money from adult ads.

 

Illustration from Thinkstock

 

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