Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is Google censoring conservative and anti-Obama blogs?

My blog has been flagged as spam by Google ... has yours?

I first noticed my blog had been flagged as "spam" by Google around the first part of June, and it continues to be under a "spam suspision" even though I turned in a review request weeks ago. So what is the background on this story?

According to Fox News and multiple other sources, anti-Obama and conservative Blogger blogs through Google may have been censored when Google froze their websites.

On July 15, Fox News reported:
Seven blogs run by Democrats who oppose Obama’s nomination for the presidency were incorrectly flagged as spam sites by Blogger, the hosting service Google has owned since 2003. Google says it was an automated response from a spam filter.

But the bloggers believe that Web surfers who support Obama took advantage of a loophole in Blogger’s system that allows readers to report spam blogs, the artificial Web sites that abound on the Internet and are used to promote other sites.

"It appears that [Blogger's] policy can be manipulated by people determined to shut down the free exchange of ideas," said Carissa Snedeker, whose blog, BlueLyon, was among those that were frozen.
I believe it goes further than just those sites. Using that loophole, it would appear liberal bloggers are "flagging" conservative blogs as spam, causing undue disruption.

Currently, the SWAC Girl blog has to go through a series of "picture letter" word verifications in order to publish, something that has been going on for about six weeks. Google says they need to have a real person look at it to be sure it's not spam but my question is how many hundreds/ thousands/ millions of these blogs have been flagged, and how long will it take a "real person" to go through that backlog?

Blogger "GeekLove" wrote:
"Blogger’s 'guilty until proven innocent' approach is appalling."
The American Thinker suspects Google of censoring not only the "anti-Obama" blogs that were shut down but also conservative bloggers:
From my own experience with Google and my website that was shut down three times, I believe that Google takes such action at times to annoy conservative bloggers and perhaps try and get them to quit. Other conservative bloggers who have used Blogspot could probably relate their own horror stories.

Bottom line: Google is guilty until proven innocent in my eyes and whether they deliberately shut down some of these blogs knowing full well they were not spam is a question we will probably never know the answer to.
Newsbusters has more.

Another problem with the flawed "flag" program is the possibility of a competing blogger flagging someone's blog just to cause problems.

Meanwhile, I am still going through the "word verification" process before publishing until someone at Google decides my blog is not spam.


Anonymous said...

Wonder how long it will take before someone notices the little nav-bar and its flag button do not exist on my blogger site?

I've posted this comment anonymously, but you should be able to figure out who I am SWAC Girl.

zen said...

Being that SPAM is:
"excessive multiple posting—the repeated posting of the same message."
It's no wonder this site has been flagged.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

I challenge that statement, Zen. My blog is pretty versatile with a variety of subjects and issues which is why I enjoy blogging so much.

I'm just a lowly little blog posting photos of my flowers and talking about the day's headlines ... nothing threatening in that.

Bottom line: Blogger needs to fine-tune their "flagging" process because it is ripe for abuse which is, apparently, what has happened in this case and others. I hope they heed the call.

zen said...

"excessive multiple posting—the repeated posting of the same message."

How many posts about Tony Snow's unfortunate passing did you have?

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Zen ... you're paying attention! However, your example is flawed. My site was flagged as "spam" the first part of June ... Tony Snow did not pass away until July 12.

Talking about a subject four times does not spell "spam."

Can you say "m-a-c-a-c-a"?

Stephen said...

Google needs to take responsibility for censoring these blogs by publicly apologizing and pledge to never censor content again...force them to change or else we will blog on non-Google platforms:

Spank That Donkey said...

I do all my searches with Yahoo....

So did Google give $ to Mark Warner?

Anonymous said...

Have you thought of emigrating from the evil empire? See e.g.