For all its proclamations about protecting freedom of expression, Google actually wants to censor sexually explicit content published on its blogging platform.
No content will be deleted, according to an update posted to Google's support database. However, beginning March 23, Blogger will make private blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic images or video unless the blog owners take down the content themselves. Only the blog's owner, website administrator, and whoever has the link to the blog will be able to see a private blog.
Previously, Blogger allowed the posting of adult and sexually explicit content as long as it is legal, since Google believes that "censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression." Blogger websites that contain adult imagery are required to include a warning about the nature of the website and gives users the option to close the website if they are not comfortable or, as in the case of minors, not allowed to view adult content.
However, Blogger does not allow content that depict illegal activities, such as "rape, incest, bestiality, or necrophilia" as well as child pornography and pedophilia. It also prohibits the posting of advertisements for websites where users can download pornographic content for a fee.
Google, however, leaves a small window of relief for Blogger users who post adult content.
"We'll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts," says Google.
However, this is not much comfort for adult content providers since Google itself will take on the role of censor to determine what is acceptable for public viewing or not. Adult content bloggers, such as Derren Grathy, are unhappy about the updated policy and have taken to the Google Product forums to voice their concerns.
Grathy, who will find it hard to share his private link with his thousands of followers, says bloggers of adult blogs like him have been quiet long enough as Google instituted restrictive new rules and regulations. He considers the interstitial warnings of adult content "fair enough," but when Google decided to ban paid advertisements on their blogs, thus harming their ability to make money off their content, "we held our tongues and let them be."
"Though we might not be able to make a living on Blogger itself, perhaps we could still create something for others to experience and enjoy as we have," Grathy says. "But now, the Blogger team is going to take even that away from us. Set to private and 'invitation only,' our websites will be all but destroyed. The fact that you haven't deleted our content is of grim consolation when you kill off our entire user base!"
Google has yet to make an official response to Grathy, but its support page says bloggers who are unhappy with the new policy may export their blog as an .xml file or use Google Takeout to archive their text and images.