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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blogger Content Policy Update

About 10 days ago (Feb. 23, 2015 to be exact) those of who utilize Blogger received an 'interesting' emailed titled "Blogger Content Policy Update" and the first line stated "We're writing to tell you about an upcoming change to the Blogger Content Policy that may affect your account." Sort of made you raise an eye brow but nothing major. So we all kept reading. Then we got to the part that made us do a bit of a double take. Ready? The part reads "we (meaning Bloggers) no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video". Okay, lets pause for a second. Now, I for one was not worried because I KNOW this was mainly pertaining to things like PORN and I am a book blogger. Lets take a second and make sure we clearly see the difference here in case we have to, PORN..... and me... BOOK BLOGGER! Okay. Now that we've cleared this up. Let's address the elephant in the room. The verbiage! I did have ONE concern, which was the verbiage. In the entire email that we received, not once did they define what was considered "explicit". I'm sure you KNOW where I'm going with this. BTW, how do you like my banner for this post? Sorry, couldn't help myself!

Recently, we have had several issues with Facebook shutting down pages like Michael Stokes Photography page because some people were reporting it as "sexually explicit". Mind you, there was NOTHING sexually explicit about the images being shown. HOWEVER, pages where cats are being hit, woman are dressed like school girls and their boobs are hanging out and others where its clearly PORN, those pages are still up and running. Even though those pages have been reported, they are still up for everyone to see. Facebook has since republished Michael's page, but we all know they are watching his every move. Which brings me back to the how is "explicit" defined?

I happened to have friend who works at Google and I reached out to him for assistance to find out how is explicit defined or what falls under that category that isn't "Porn". I did informed him that many authors will use profanity and that erotica is a genre and THAT can and is VERY explicit. He came back to me with an awesome answer that basically was what I was thinking - the policy is SPECIFICALLY about pornography. While erotica may be explicit about sex, its not porn!

On my blog, I do have the "adult content" warning on because I don't want a minor getting on here and then having their parent's get their panties up in knots! However, it was due to that warning that my blog got flagged to receive that original email to begin with! Damned if you do and damned if you don't! I have since removed the adult content from my blog. Why? I can't be held responsible for other's actions. I have things clearly stated in my policies sections! Will I put the warning back? Per the policy, I should, but technically, maybe I'll be a rebel for a little bit.

Today, March 5, 2015 we did receive a new email from Blogger stating they have listened to our feedback and they are "maintaining our existing policies", basically, they are not changing things on us! Woohoo!! What did we learn? For one, providing feedback does work. Granted, it may not give us the result we want all the time, but it does work. Its important when things like this occur, that we do provide our thoughts.

The other things that prompted me to write this post is that once many of us received the initial email, many bloggers FREAKED THE HELL OUT and started bailing! I mean serious people! Take a second and breath!! No you don't need to go to another blog provider! No you don't need to shut down your blog! No you don't need to start your own website that you own your domain (that's not a bad idea, but that's another topic for another day). This isn't nor will it be the last time that Blogger or another hosting company reviews and updates their content policy. This will occur again and again. Lets not panic! Okay? I know the verbiage was a tad bit vague, but they did give a window when the new policy would be implemented so take the time provided to do some research.

So, book bloggers, keep doing what you're doing! Support the authors you love! Read, Read and oh yeah READ! Review! Network! Its important!! This is an awesome community we're apart of, enjoy it and be a part of it!

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