So like a lot of my fellow Google Blogger users, I received a notice a few days ago informing me of the following:
In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content.
The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private.
Our records indicate that your account may be affected by this policy change. Please refrain from creating new content that would violate this policy. Also, we ask that you make any necessary changes to your existing blog to comply as soon as possible, so that you won't experience any interruptions in service.
I got the notice because my blog is labeled for adult content, which makes sense since I mostly write about erotica, though in fact I didn't actually have any “nude images” on my blog (I kind of wish now that I did). Needless to say, I was extremely pissed off about this abrupt change in policy, which came out of nowhere, created havoc for a lot of friends of mine, and represents the kind of narrow-minded, censorious Puritanism that goes against everything my blog stands for.
Apparently, I was not the only unhappy person, since this morning Google retracted their new policy—to which I can only say, WTF? Yeah, it’s good I guess, but since I spent more than six hours yesterday moving my posts over to my web site, at the moment I am feeling more frustrated than grateful.
So, the upshot of this, is that I have decided to go ahead and move my blog. Overall, it’s probably best for that all important “Lilia Ford Brand” that I have everything in one location, but I confess that I will miss Blogger, which I’ve used since 2007 and still regard as one of the most accessible, user-friendly platforms out there. Annoyingly, the move itself has proven to be a total migraine. Unlike reposting to booklikes or tumblr, it is not possible to move blog posts wholesale to my website host with images and links intact. To make it a bit easier, I’ve had to make the following compromises.
I am only moving significant essays and book reviews, not announcements or short pieces.
In order to spare myself hours of labor, I am not going back and replacing every single link. I have tried to put in links to major quotes and references, but I am not putting in things like Amazon buy links to books being reviewed.
Therefore, I will be leaving the original blog up, both to preserve the original versions with all links included and also for those (probably rare) cases where others have linked to my posts.
After this post, new posts will only appear here, and where possible I will replace any links I find to refer back to the website rather than to Blogger. Goodreads has assured me that previous posts and comments appearing on their site will not be affected, so I am hopeful that nothing will change there.
I admit that I am really angry and disgusted that Google of all companies would even contemplate a policy like this given the influence it has on how information is disseminated in our society: That they would take a step that expresses such strong disapproval for the open treatment of human sexuality, that moves away from a position of strict neutrality on what should and should not be discussed in the blogosphere, and go so far as to threaten their own customers with complete removal from the public sphere if they don’t censor material, some of which has been up for a decade or more.
Bottom line: I’m glad they retracted, but the damage has been done.