Looks like the fireworks are starting a little early in Google+.
Former TechCrunch columnist and current venture capitalist, MG Siegler started a rousing debate about censorship issues in the social media sphere when he complained about Google+ removing a photo of him giving the photographer the middle fingery.
Siegler posted the picture a second time after which he received this response from Google's Alex Joseph:
As the first point of interaction with a user's profile, all profile photos on Google+ are reviewed to make sure they are in line with our User Content and Conduct Policy. Our policy page states, "Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content." Your profile photo was taken down as a violation of this policy. If you have further questions about the policies on Google+ you can visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/policy/content.html, or click the "Content Policy" link located in the footer of Google+ pages.
This bothered Siegler so much that he took to his blog to criticize Google's casual removal policy. Siegler wrote:
"My problem isn't so much with the fact that I couldn't have a profile picture of myself giving everyone the finger - which I can and do on Twitter and elsewhere - it's that no one bothered to tell me or warn me before they just went into my account and deleted the picture. What if this was the only place I had stored the picture?"
Other people have stepped in to the debate. MySpace co-founder, Tom Anderson took Google's side by explaining that Google was just acting on its stated plan of removing offensive photos. He wrote in a post in Google+ that Facebook, Twitter and MySpace all had plans for removing offensive content and that Google isn't alone in monitoring content. Anderson added that Google+ users " don't need to see you flipping us off, nor do we need to see you naked, or displaying something else generally considered offensive. When a social network lets that stuff slide, it turns into a cesspool that no one wants to visit ... sorta like Myspace was."
Google hasn't made a secret of its conservative policy in Google+. It patrols user content and keeps out offensive content. Siegler points out that it's a slippery slope that Google is on by enforcing its own interpretation of what is offensive content. Google is about fostering a mature community on Google+ but it looks like it comes with a caveat: you're only welcome here if you step in line.
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