Saturday, January 08, 2005

Hate Blogging: Google Rolls Over

Ruthie in the Sky reports back that Blogger, Inc. owner Google has, at last, responded to repeated calls and emails regarding a hate blogger, called “Proud Tsunami Sympathizer,” who revels in the increasing toll of dead Asians.

But their response was less than Ruth had hoped for. This from Google's "Blogger Support” [blogger@trakken.com]:

Blogger is a provider of content creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to create blogs, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. In cases where a contact email address is listed on the page, we recommend working directly with the author to have this information removed or changed.
Above statement seems to contradict Google’s and BlogSpot’s own "terms of service" regarding those who use Blogger to post content that is “hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.”

Ruth’s reaction: “I better never hear Google declare that it's totally run by human beings. Because today Google proved...that it isn't.”

My take: Corporations would rather pretend that these types of problems don't exist. In their view, censoring the offending blog might cause more problems than allowing it to rot in relative obscurity. In many ways, this pales by comparison to the highly publicized hate speech of Michael Savage or Ann Coulter, which reaches millions. We might be able to pressure and shame Google by drawing more public attention to their non-action action. Then again, public controversy might also serve PTS's aims -- to attract attention, whether good or bad, to his/her despicable blog.

What would you do?

14 comments:

Tom said...

On a personal level, as a free speech advocate, I probably wouldn't be in favor of Google canning the blog in this case. There are other things out there on the Internet that are (far) more worse than this blog, and they are there because people have the right to do so - in this country, at least.

On a professional level, I'm somewhat surprised that they didn't make a more firm statement about the blog - because not doing so makes their TOS seem somewhat irrelevant or at least this passage of it. In that document, they clearly state that they have the right to drop a blog if something they don't see is brought to their attention. It doesn't say that they WILL do so forever.

In a way, even though some people (like Ruthie) may totally disagree with this statement, we might just be better off with the fact that Google didn't drop this site. Just as we can change the channel on television without government stepping in and effectively censoring what people want to see, we don't have to visit this particular website - and, the best part, we can tell people how hateful we believe it to be and not to visit it.

oyster said...

Ignore it for now, but cite it every time a conservative talks about hate speech on the left.

Phil said...

I'm not convinced the guy's serious. It just looks like a joke to me. Regardless, I'm all about free speech. I think google was wise to let it stay.

Anonymous said...

Ruthie, click somewhere else and stop telling other people what to think or say. The problem here is that Google is contradicting itself. The TOS shouldn't address content.

Brian said...

Just another psychopath...must be an amerikan.

Anonymous said...

Hate mongers
Haven't we agreed to defend to the death "their right to say it?" The world isn't made to order. We have to deal with real, not pretty.

Of course, hate speech is bad. But are we better off not knowing what hate mongers are doing and saying? Do we really want to put Google into the paternalistic role of deciding what "the children" can read? This adult objects. So does the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Great! Thanks to your post here (through Media Savvy), you have now given this person more publicity and attention! I am sure they thanks you for it! Ever seen the newsgroup alt.nuke.the.usa? Its been around about 10 years longer than blogging, and its just as stupid!

Better you think twice before reporting this nonsense again...

Richard said...

I think Google is being smarmy about this. They don't have to ban the entire blog. They could remove the offending post & warn him that if he continues in this vein they may take further action.

And Tim, pls. reconsider linking to this idiot's site as you do above. I never provide links to such sites in my blog. I may mention the name of a site I find odious, which allows other to do a google search for it if they really want to see it. But providing the link up front makes it too easy to get there & that only increases this shmuck's audience & power.

Timothy Karr said...

Just to get this straight: This posting is a about a conflict concerning a corporation, Google, that provides a tool for posting content and attempts to put in place a "terms of service" that protects against people using this tool to propagate hate.

I believe this is an important story because, just as blogging has the potential for great things (e.g. empowering people to reclaim control of their media), it is also a powerful tool to spread hatred, mobilize racists and do harm -- both online and off -- to others. Hate blogging is a developing phenomenon and should not be ignored.

In the interest of illustrating this point, I link to the offending blogger. If you don't want to read the despicable blog, don't go there.

I also provide an email address to Google for those who might want to express their concerns to the company.

MediaCitizen still hasn't taken any position on this other than to say that the emergence of "hate blogging" is a phenomenon worth noting, that this blog is "despicable", and that Google's response to this instance contradicts their own policy.

Sometimes, new media ain't pretty. But turning a blind eye isn't the solution.

Tim

Pietro Speroni di Fenizio said...

I personally believe that 'consciously ignoring' him has nothing to do with turning a blind eye, or sticking your head in the sand or anything like that. Only by letting him speak you can straighten up his croocked thinking or the lies he is exposing. Pushing him again in the backburner of those who are not allowed to say thair POV will harm in the long run. If on the other hand he is just looking for attention (as I suspect) 'consciously ignoring him' is THE correct answer, as it might make him understand that attention comes (or should come) when you have something valuable to say.

Pietro

Ruthie In The Sky said...

I appreciate your comments, Tim. And for putting this discussion on your blog. You did the right thing. And right isn't always a million-seller. But right is right. And that fact will always matter the most.

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AFP suit against Google News for $17.5 million
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Overture Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Google
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Anonymous said...

That is the whole point idiots. The internet was supposed to be about free speech, not control, not Google, not advertising and monopoly. Spining the evil will not change it. My butt just puckered up about the size of a BB. Lets all gather around and pull out the race card and the unamerican card and shovel the !@#$%^ knee deep.

Ruthie In The Sky said...

Actually, Google finally decided to correct the problem by putting a "Report Offensive Blog" button on the navigation bar of every one of their blogs.

I consider it a victory.