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Google backtracks on ‘explicit’ Blogger content ban

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On Friday, in an update by Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio on Google’s Product Forums, the tech giant said in light of feedback and concern relating to the “retroactive enforcement of the new policy,” which would impact on bloggers who have held accounts for over 10 years, Google has reversed its decision to ban explicit content entirely from the network.

In addition, Pelegio said the reversal was due in part to the potential “negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.”

Instead, Google will “step up enforcement” around an existing policy which prohibits commercial porn.

Earlier this week, the online search giant informed users of the Blogger network who ran blogs behind an “adult content warning” page that all adult blogs would be removed from the public eye on March 23, 2015, leaving access only granted to registered users. The notice to Bloggers behind the “adult” door read:

“In the coming weeks, we’ll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We’ll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.

The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we’ve made private.”

In order to prevent their blogs from being removed from the public arena, users were told to delete “sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video.” According to ZDNet’s Violet Blue, blogs under the “adult” label are wide-ranging, and include LGBT diaries, transgender activists, romance book writers, sex toy reviewers, art nude photographers and sex news blogs, among others.

Therefore, should Google have gone ahead with the ban, it would not only be “standard” adult blogs which faced removal — but a wide variety of community members and functions.

Google says that blog owners should continue to mark blogs which contain explicit content as “adult” so they can be placed behind a suitable “adult content” warning on the network.

 

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