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First report of blog censorship using Blogger “flag” option

First report of blog censorship using Blogger “flag” option

A new report alleging that Google’s new “flag” feature has been used to censor a blog on the grounds that readers have disagreed with the opinion of a writer has appeared, in what if proven true would be the first case of the service announced last week being used in such a a way.

Gypsyman writes at BlogCritics that Indian writer Ashok Banker seems to have been targeted by people using the feature implemented by Google and that the site disappeared for at least some time (its up at the time of writing this post). Interestingly he also mentions Joseph Goebbels in the same article, but notes that he is not accusing Google of censoring the blog, just giving others the means to do so (which I’d note is a flawed argument given that only Google can make the move to block it).

“Let me reiterate that I’m not blaming Google for directly censoring anybody, only that they have created a situation where it is possible. Blogs are supposed to provide people the means of free and open expression. Obviously, there has to be some method of monitoring that ensures things like hate literature or incitement to illegal activities are prevented. The system of mob rule that Google uses currently is not the answer.”

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Freelance blogger

As long as Google takes the lazy option on spam blogs, expect to see a whole lot more of this in the future.

View Comments (2)
  • Two points concerning your sumnation of my article. One not once did I say his blog had disapeared, I said that he was unable to post to his site. As of now he is still having difficulties, it took twelve attempts to put up one post, and others he was still unable to publish.

    Two, Blogger says that in their description of the flagging process that they use a process that depends entirely on “community standards” the more votes against a site, the heavier the penalty. They do not appear to check the so called offending sites, but allow the voters to do the work.

    I also did not allege or accuse anyone of anything, rather said that there was the possibility of this system being abused, and was wondering whether and that Mr. Banker and I were wondering if this had happened in this instance.

    I also said that he still hoped it was a technical foul up that could easily be explained. The point of the article was not that it happened to Mr. Banker, but that it could have happened and could happen easily enough to someone else in the future.

    Thank you for publicizing this situation though, maybe it at least will get the people at blogger motivated to move quicker on tech problems. They seem to move quite slowly.

    I’ll send a link to this post to Mr. Banker in case he has missed it.

  • As a person who disagrees with the current concept of the flag button I’ve found a work around for it. The solution is posted to my newly created style hacking blog at Editing the Navbar. Hope this helps prevent future problems for folks that only want freedom of speech. If something illegal is being posted that is an entirely different subject matter and hopefully the flag button will eventually evolve into a way for us the members of Blogger and Blogspot to police one another against illegal/spam activity.
    Matthew Robinson

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