Google’s blogging platform bans porn and other sexually explicit images

Blogger users have complained about the apparent reversal of policy

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The Independent Tech

Porn and other sexually explicit images to be banned from Blogger, with Google giving users one month to comply or get banned from hosting public blogs.

Users must take down all “sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video”, or their sites will be made private on March 23. Google won’t delete any content if users don’t remove explicit images, but it will only be available for administrators of blogs.

The new policy marks a change from previous policies on the site. Google did allow “images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity”, simply asking users to mark such blogs as “adult”. If the administrators of blogs did so, the sites would be placed behind a warning page that told visitors about the adult content on the site.

Blogger’s restrictions previously only banned explicit content that was illegal or shared without the consent of those depicted in it.

Google will still allow nudity “if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts,” it said.

If bloggers don’t want to remove the content, and would rather leave the service, the company offers options either to download the blog as a file or archive its contents using its Google Takeout service.

But users of the service said the short notice and the apparent reversal of policy was unfair.

“Based on the information I have available at this time, I find it disrespectful to users for Google to announce apparently with only 30 days notice that they are summarily banning most explicit materials from Blogger,” wrote Lauren Weinstein, a technologist and blogger. “It is utterly within their rights to do so, but the lack of longer notice (absent specific legal constraints) and a total lack of any explanation in the announcement for this change (only perfunctory operational details) are extremely disappointing.”

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