Google’s blog hosting service, Blogger.com, admits that in the name of “free speech” some of its blogs are “offensive, harmful, inaccurate,” but when one of its clients blogged in opposition to a transgender rights bill, Google drew the line.
A day before the Massachusetts Legislature plans to review a controversial gender identity bill, Blogger.com blocked the blog of MassResistance, an organization that exposes the increasingly open agenda of the homosexual movement in Massachusetts, with a warning that some of the content may be “objectionable,” requiring readers to confirm their intent to visit.
Screen shot of content advisory and permission requirement prior to accessing the MassResistance blog
“Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog’s content is objectionable,” the warning reads. “In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service.”
MassResistance blogger Amy Contrada, however, writes that the only potentially “objectionable” items on the blog are photos taken in public settings and her group’s politically incorrect viewpoints.
“We publish only facts, ‘uncomfortable truths,’ not rumors or personal attacks,” Contrada writes on her blog. “And obviously, our photos reveal the ugly truth. Then, we identify those public figures who are twisting the law to enable public perversion and subversion of our youth and culture.”
“We’ve had that blog on there since 2005,” said Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, “and only when we started posting on the new transgender bill before the Legislature did this happen.
“If you look at Google’s policy on hate speech, they do state you can’t include hate against people for their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Camenker told WND. “But the things we write are all factual; we don’t advocate beating anyone up. On the other hand, there are an enormous number of blogs against religious people that are clearly vile and hateful, particularly during the Proposition 8 battle in California. Some of that content was hideous, and it’s still up.
“Nothing on our site could be construed as ‘hate,'” Camenker said.
Specifically, Google’s terms of service state, “Google does not monitor the content of Blogger.com and Blogspot.com, and takes no responsibility for such content. … By their very nature, Blogger.com and Blogspot.com may carry offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate material.”
The website’s content policy further states, “It is our belief that censoring this content is contrary to a service that bases itself on freedom of expression.”
MassResistance, however, told WND that Google’s actions speak louder than the words in its policies.
“Google seems to have a double standard,” Camenker said. “It hosts a large number of gay activist sites that are vile and vicious, particularly against religious people, yet they put up an ‘objectionable content’ warning on our blog. How do they define what’s offensive?”
Contrada told WND that as more and more states – and even the federal government – look to pass “hate speech” bills and laws protecting the undefined labels of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” Americans will be shocked, both by what they see displayed on the public streets and by what they can’t say in the public square.
“I’ve been anticipating this for quite a while now,” Contrada said. “Obviously Google is a private enterprise at this point, but their actions represent a trial balloon for government censorship of undefined ‘hate’ speech. And just like the gender identity bills, nowhere is it clearly defined what the terms mean. What will be classified as ‘hate?’
“MassResistance’s blog has pointed out this can of worms, and I think that’s one of the reasons it draws ‘objections’ from transgender activists,” Contrada said. “This act of censorship is just a harbinger of what may come.”
Camenker also said that as Google becomes more technologically entrenched in every aspect of communications, he fears how content will be monitored in the future.
“It’s Orwellian,” Camenker told WND. “With Google controlling operating systems, blogs, Web searches, Internet access and software, it can get pretty bad. It could happen to anyone with a company as powerful as Google.”
WND contacted Google for comment on its content advisory and permission confirmation on the MassResistance blog, but a representative merely pointed to the site’s page on “flagging” a blog:
“The Flag button isn’t censorship and it can’t be manipulated by angry mobs,” the Google page reads. “Political dissent? Incendiary opinions? Just plain crazy? Bring it on.
“When someone visiting a blog clicks the Flag button in the Blogger Navbar, it means that person believes the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal,” the Google help page continues. “We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content deemed objectionable.”
WND has reported on Google’s history of being frequently criticized for its content policies and one-sided political slant, including the following actions:
- Issuing a statement publicly opposing Proposition 8, California voters’ attempt to constitutionally define marriage as between one man and one woman
- Restricting Christian advertising on the issue of abortion, until a lawsuit compelled Google to amend its policy
- Rejecting an ad for a book critical of Bill and Hillary Clinton while continuing to accept anti-Bush themes
- Rejecting ads critical of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while continuing to run attack ads against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas
- Allowing the communist Chinese government to have the search engine block “objectionable” search terms such as “democracy”
- Ignoring major American patriotic and religious holidays, while honoring Remembrance Day in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and other observances.
In addition, the company came under fire for an editorial decision giving preferential placement to large, elite media outlets such as CNN and the BBC over independent news sources, such as WND, even if they are more recent, pertinent and exhaustive in their coverage.
MassResistance told WND it is currently in the process of backing up its blog content and transferring the blog to a different host service.
Editor’s note: Once a reader confirms he or she wishes to access the MassResistance blog, the content warning no longer appears in subsequent visits to the blog.