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Friday, March 17, 2006

Google Removes Video?

John Conner told me Google removed his video “The Resistance to Gay Marriage” he uploaded to Google Video as it “violated Google¬ís program policy,” as Google told him. (John cites this address.) From TheResistanceManifesto.com, John’s website:

“World wide, The Resistance has been growing as the Illuminati ushers in their New World Order in preparation for the antichrist. The One World Government Orwellian Police State Beast system is currently being implemented. Now is the time. We must resist!”

Mmmmookay...

Now, when we talk about Google censorship or filtering, I think there’s a couple of categories we need to differentiate:

  1. Making something “family safe”: Google has some SafeSearch filters in place. Still, you can get all the content if you de-activate this filter.
  2. Making editorial choices: Google has some services, like Google News, where they make editorial choices in terms of which sources they pick. Here, it’s clearly not censorship per se to not include a source, as otherwise Google would need to include every website. (On the other hand for Google News China, it seems Google rejected certain sources based on gov’t requests.)
  3. User-uploaded content: Google may have certain program policies for stuff people create on Blogspot, Google Video, Google Pages and other services.
  4. Copyright infringement: When certain content violates copyright laws, such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, Google removes it.
  5. Spam filters: When Google removes noise from its search results, such as over-optimized sites trying to cheat their way up the ranking, they’re at times “banning” domains.
  6. Self-censored crawled content: In at least China, France and Germany Google also removes content due to government requests (which may or may not be based on local laws).

In this particular case, it might be Google removed the video – if it ever existed – due to its potentially homophobic or hateful nature (I can’t tell, I didn’t see it). It then probably falls into category 3. However, John says Google did not specifically tell him with which program policies his video collided. I asked Google on this and if they get back to me, I’ll post an update.

Update: Saw the video now... grotesquely anti-gay... actually, it looks like it’s the Daily Show ridiculing homophobia.

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