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The LiveJournal/SixApart Storm

Thousands of LiveJournal customers are rebelling against the company's recent decision to censor hundreds of sex-themed discussion groups, a broad swath that has led to the removal of literary critiques and fan-written fiction about Harry Potter.

LiveJournal, which is owned by San Francisco-based Six Apart, confirmed Wednesday that it deleted around 500 journals this week in hopes of better "protecting children." It said the deletion was prompted by activist groups, including one called Warriors for Innocence that claims to track sites promoting pedophilia, the sexual abuse of minors, and other illegal activities.

"We did a review of our policies related to how we review those sites, those journals, and came up with the fact that we actually did have a number of journals up that we didn't think met our policies and didn't think they were appropriate to have up," Barak Berkowitz, chairman and chief executive of Six Apart, said in a telephone interview. The site boasts about 13 million journals.

"Protecting children."

Jesus fuck, huh?

This is not the first time Six Apart have revealed themselves to be, not backwards, but completely cowardly in the face of any criticism or complaint. A bit of research on the part of the Warriors for Innocence would have revealed that their position as an organisation with some kind of legal backing was, how shall we say, not true: "I am not associated with a Law Enforcement (LE) agency. I do however, work closely with LE and report many illegal sites and activities to local LE and to the NCMEC/Cyber Tip Line. I have spoken to the NCMEC on the phone several times (per their request, not mine) about illegal sites and missing children." Not associated and working closely, in case you can't tell, do not mean associated and employed by, and self appointed guardians of the internet who are here to serve and protect us all from the big bad online predator who is stalking the chat room for your eight year old are to be ignored as the overly zealous fuck jobs that they are. I mean, seriously: I know pedophilia is a topic no one wants to get behind, but this fuck up here aptly displays how poorly defined and examined the whole subject is, and reactions like this only go fuel the hysteria that already exists around the subject. Frankly, any examination into anything relating to 'Pedophilia' is going to reveal a large, unmapped area where the lines are blurred, morality gets question, fantasy is raised, and a whole lot more doesn't fit neatly into the Abducting Eight Year Olds with Your Van and a Lollipop or Chatroom Rape image that many have.

For the most part, Six Apart doesn't get any complaint from me, but moments like this (and the nipple icon) make me look quite seriously at the plan of taking the blog away from here. I have always toyed with the idea of setting up my own site, and it's only my complete lack of design skills and laziness on my part that stop me from doing so. However, moments like this go some way to eating away the laziness. If it continues, it's more than likely that you could see this blog quite dead.


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May. 31st, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Oh those poor writers of incest and underage-based slashfic...
May. 31st, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's why I'm kind of ambivalent. It's a conditions of service issue - we are using a commercial service after all so our speech here is not exactly protected.

But, you know, "They came first for the Communists..."
May. 31st, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
"They came first for the Harry Potter anthropomorphic ocelot underage incest fisting slashfic..."
May. 31st, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
Funny, I didn't come at all

May. 31st, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
                FIC-WRITER: My fic-journal got deleted!
           GUY-IN-LAB-COAT: Well, we created a device to remove all of the sickest, 
                     silliest, most twisted, deviant, socially and aesthetically unacceptable 
                     journals from our site in an automated manner.
     FIC-WRITER [flailing]: And my fic-journal got deleted!
           GUY-IN-LAB-COAT: Am I not being clear here?
May. 31st, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
yes, yes, no one particularly cares about the harry potter slash. but it's a larger issue, really.
May. 31st, 2007 02:37 am (UTC)
I've been trying to work out - is LJ barring certain accounts really such a big deal? They're a commercial service, so really they can deny whoever they want, and if we don't like it we're within our rights to all bugger off and find a better social blogging service - which I note many indignant slashfans are already doing.

I mean I'm aware of the whole "thin end of the wedge" argument, but I can't get outrageously fussed about what's happened. I think the way LJ have handled it makes them look kind of like dicks, but this feels like a standard mountain made out of a fanhill.

The communities and journals I feel for are the incest and rape survivor groups who got caught up in the knee-jerk purge, but I suspect they might be able to forgive LJ's error given that it was done in an attempt to remove paedophile community groups from the system.
May. 31st, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
i do think this is worth making a big deal out of, actually, in part because warriors of innocence don't really have any air of credibility about them whatsoever. part of me reckons that if we make a big fuss out of this now, if we jump and down and slap the company, then when this comes up next, it'll have a lot more thought put behind it.

also, for me, it hits a few other issues, such as freedom of speech, and the hysteria that exists around pedophilia, and i don't find myself willing to just shrug it off, even if the victims of it are largely slash fic groups.

just my side of it, of course.
May. 31st, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Typos corrected
6A has now publicly admitted it was responding in part of Warriors of Innocence, which is run by bloggers who are part of the white supremacist Christian right - the details are here.

I guess as long as they don't want to fuck Harry Potter, it's okay to allow extremists to set policy.
May. 31st, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
Well if this stuff you've linked to is true, this is going to turn into a delightful monstrosity for us all watch collapse and burn.

It's all such a wonderful mess. On the one hand, if LJ actually found and shut down rape, incest and paedophilia-loving Livejournals, then that's a good thing. On the other hand, wiping out all the slash communities was a pretty idiotic thing, and wiping out all the child abuse and rape survivor communities was a terrible, terrible thing. And now if they're taking their commands from white supremacists?

May. 31st, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
Well, if you really dig into the whole WFI thing, they are an extreme right group...it looks less like they are going after the pedophiles and more after the GBLT community.
May. 31st, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
It's looking like that. I've also heard now that apparently WFI may actually be just one person sending a lot of emails out.
May. 31st, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
It also appears to be part of an attempt to gain publicity for a presidential run (warning: potential spyware.) We have these sort of flakes running for the presidency all the time, of course, and they've previously used the internet to draw attention to their dark horse campaigns, but this type of publicity gaining attack seems to be a new approach.
May. 31st, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
May. 31st, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
Hmm that's insane. It is, however, worth pointing out that "zero tolerance of paedophilia" is pretty much a social norm outside of the maniac Christian Patriot Cracker Right, though.
May. 31st, 2007 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
unfortunately, that zero tolerance part is, imo, part of the problem, too. i've yet to see any situation that was helped by such an approach.
May. 31st, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
"Zero tolerance" is never that in practice, but that's by the by -- all I'm saying is that regarding paedophilia as a heinous crime is an attitude common to liberals as well as conservatives.

Although I don't agree, even a shadow, with the fallacious links nutjobs like to create between gays and paedophiles, or the even wider "liberal menace" they like to theorise about, I'm never going to get into the business of excusing or defending paedophiles just to maintain the consistency of my objections to said nutjobs.
May. 31st, 2007 05:53 am (UTC)
Re: Typos corrected
yeah, a lot of people are the same.
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