Google left blushing after issuing U-turn on Blogger nudity ban

27 Feb 2015

Well that lasted long. After just three days, Google has rescinded its decision to block almost all public nudity on its Blogger platform after users inundated the search giant with complaints.

On Tuesday, Google notified its users and the general public that as of 23 March, no images that contain graphic nudity or sexually explicit material could be published on its Blogger platform, unless it was marked as private or as part of an artistic work.

And now, in a massive turnaround, Google took to its forums to say public nudity will remain on Blogger, but called on people to mark pages with nudity as private.

“This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy,” said the post from Google’s social product support manager Jessica Pelegio.

“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.”

This comedown will be considered a victory for those who called the move a limiting of freedom of expression, with one critic being sex blogger and author Zoe Margolis, who said making blogs private effectively “kills them off”.

In The Guardian after the announcement, Margolis wrote, “Forcing millions of blogs to become private is not just a free-speech issue, or one about making adult content harder to find (Google’s own search tool makes that argument redundant), but boils down to Google sabotaging the integrity of the web – and how it functions – and it is for this reason that we need to oppose this narrow-minded and short-sighted policy.”

Blogging image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic