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Blog Censorship…

The Blog censorship raises its ugly head not once but twice today.

First, from GMSV, the US military is clamping down on bloggers requiring that superiors approve of Blog posts. There are a large portion of US employers that require this if the blog is on company time and about company matters. This clearly doesn’t work for the Military who have a far broader reach.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging. No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has — its most honest voice out of the war zone. And it’s being silenced.” — Retired paratrooper Matthew Burden, editor of The Blog of War anthology, on a new Army directive requiring soldiers to submit the contents of blog posts, message board comments and e-mail to their superior officer for a security review.

I read a few of these blogs and have been surprised that they have been able to post so freely. But then, isn’t free speech one of the things we are fighting for?

Second, Digg removes posts with code in order to avoid legal action – and then says they’ll stop doing that and bear the consequences. Some call this move to keep the site up an act of commercial imperative over community responsibility. I call it commonsense expediency. The notion that bloggers can post whatever they like, anytime they like, is nonsense.

In a post, founder Kevin Rose published the key himself and said: “We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code. But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”

One Response

  1. By Ben Kepes on May 3rd, 2007 at 1:25 am

    It’s an intensly interesting situation. Take the power of community that is a feature of the modern community more so than ever before, add a situation where a business faces the choices of losing that communities buy-in or facing a legal/financial threat and watch the sparks fly. It could be said that DIGG, by first censoring, and then self publishing, the code, did a double disservice to itself. True they were between a rock and a hard place but they not only alienated their community but brought themselves under the threat of legal action – double whammy!

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