Blogger.com Makes It Too Easy to Censor Blogs – What to Do?

by 1389 on July 19, 2007

in 1389 (blog admin), blog censorship, blogging, censorship, counterjihad, Digg, e-jihad, Gates of Vienna (colleagues), Google Blogger, politics, The Jawa Report

First, please read these two articles:

What is the current status? As of 4:30 Eastern Time (US) 7/18/07, Gates of Vienna was back up.

So why be concerned about it now? Because other bloggers need to know about this situation, and because it’s time for Blogger to do something to prevent its blogs from being shut down either maliciously or by mistake. Gates of Vienna is a respected counterterrorist/antijihadist blog that in no way deserves to be treated as a “spam blog.” This situation also shows how easy it would be to misuse Blogger.com to censor another blog.

How did this happen? It is possible that someone unintentionally clicked the “flag” button in the Blogger.com toolbar while attempting to navigate. But then, if a single error like that can cause a blog to be blocked, something is very wrong with Blogger.com! More likely, Gates of Vienna was maliciously flagged as a “spam blog” multiple times by one or more individuals who object to antijihadistist messages being made available to the public. Either way, Blogger.com is allowing de facto censorship, and this is wrong. It allows wrongdoers of every stripe to muzzle anybody who may be trying to warn the public about the crimes they have committed or are preparing to commit. It also will intimidate some bloggers into keeping silent – though not this one!

Does this remind you of anything? It should! The Digg “bury brigade” has aroused intense controversy for exactly the same reason: because it became too easy for a few anonymous users to muzzle opposing points of view or to cover up uncomfortable facts simply by clicking on a little button.

What are we asking Blogger to do? Blogger should add safeguards to prevent the same thing from happening again to this or other blogs in the Blogspot domain. If Blogger.com fails to take action, then other blog owners will have reason to worry about losing access to their blogs. They’ll migrate to other blogging systems and and hosting providers that will help them to safeguard their ownership.

You may recall that I’ve blogged before about the issues that Blogger.com has with spam blogs (see Does Blogger.com think your blog is spam?) but this is a different situation. There is a very big difference between the minor inconvenience of requiring the blog owner to enter Captcha characters before posting to the blog, and the major intimidation Blogger.com causes by blocking the blog entirely.

Now please do this:

  • Link to the stories at Gates of Vienna and Foehammer.net from your own blog.
  • Ask everyone else you know who has a blog to do the same.
  • Publicize the story in every other legitimate way that you can think of: StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, Twitter, Pownce, word of mouth, chat rooms, you name it.
  • If you wish, post a comment here indicating where else this article is being publicized.

Contacting humans at Blogger.com: Google makes it especially difficult to contact anyone at Blogger.com directly. But at least for now, you can contact them at support@blogger.com. And here’s a website with rolling updates on how to contact Blogger.com: How to Contact Blogger Support. So if you are not happy about the way Blogger.com is misidentifying Gates of Vienna and other blogs as spam, you can still let them know what you think.

Also see:

Keep the pressure on Blogger.com to do something to safeguard their blogging system against being hijacked by the same “bury brigade” that has rendered Digg.com all but useless! And for what to do about THAT, see How to Bury Digg.com.

Update: Google mistakes one of its own blogs for spam!


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 July 19, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Sorry, you have no idea what you are talking about here.

Those blogs weren’t done in by people reporting them, or groups trying to censor them.

It’s a bot, a spambot, it’s automatic, they by far aren’t the only ones, and it’s a FALSE positive. And it worked like Blogger wants it to, when people are identified falsely by the bot, they submit their review, within 24-48hrs they are back in business. That’s the “price” of hosting on Blogger, you may have to prove you are human.

No need to make huge conspiracy theories where there are none. So what you are suggesting, that people can “Bury” blogs they don’t like is totally inaccurate, it doesn’t exist.

Now, if you don’t like the way the spambots work, well that’s different. Two totally different issues.

2 July 21, 2007 at 2:10 pm

You are not in a position to say why this blog was taken down. Nor do you understand what a spambot is.

A spambot automatically creates and posts spammy email, blog comments, or entire posts. It PRODUCES spam and it is NOT deployed by Blogger.com.

There was no evidence of any significant amount of spam being posted, either by a bot or by a human in connection with Gates of Vienna.

3 Former Blogger.com user May 11, 2010 at 10:31 am

I complained about one blog being wrongly IDed as spam. Then whooops! By chance (yeah, right!) my whole Blogger.com account is removed without warning.

The problem is , Blogger allow volunteers (i.e., crazy people) to run the operation. Rude, crazy people who do not like being questioned or challenged.

They treat Google like a religion. “How dare you be critical of God/Google? We will condemn you to Hell/to have your Blogger.com account removed! That’ll teach you! And it makes us feel all holy and pure and better than you!”

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