This has been an interesting week for the Internet. The FCC has deemed itself the hall monitor of the Internet which is likely to end up with broadcast-style, or English-style content filtering in the United States. Before the FCC can forever change the Internet for us, though, Google and Reddit announced content filtering themselves. While Reddit announced that they would no longer allow any adult content without permission from those involved, Google took a different approach.
Google's announced that their Blogger brand, which is known for containing a lot of adult content, would no longer allow most of that content. Included in the ban was almost all photos and videos, leaving behind only erotic fan fiction and the occasional Penthouse-style story - usually overly exaggerated. They did leave a single exception, saying,
We'll still allow nudity if the content offers a substantial public benefit, for example in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts.
As one might expect, there has been a lot of backlash. Most of the content producers and users of Blogger are there for one thing: nudity. With all of the public comments, and the obvious fear of a massive user exodus, Google has backed down on their decision. The company said,
This week, we announced a change to Blogger's porn policy stating that blogs that distributed sexually explicit images or graphic nudity would be made private.
We've received lots of feedback about making a policy change that impacts longstanding blogs, and about the negative impact this could have on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.
It is unusual for Google to back down on an unpopular policy change - if they were this easy to change directions, then YouTube would never have implemented Google+ for its commenting system. Perhaps this is a new day for Google, if not the Internet as a whole.