Google changed its mind about cracking down on NSFW blogs

Just a few days after Google announced that it would no longer allow public access to NSFW content on its Blogger platform, the company has reversed its decision.

The company essentially retracted the entire idea on its Blogger product forum early this morning, saying that rather than going after average users’ NSFW content, it would instead focus on deleting commercial porn. 

The reversal follows a widespread backlash to the proposed requirement, which would have mandated that blogs featuring nudity or sexual content either remove the explicit material or set themselves to private. This would have left them accessible only through the manual sharing of blog post URLs.

“Set to private and by ‘invitation only’, our websites will be all but destroyed,” erotica writer and blogger Darren Grathy wrote in protesting the policy.

Other users pointed out that the new content policy, which would have allowed for certain blogs to remain open if they were deemed to be in the public interest, seemed entirely arbitrary.

The concerns evidently reached the right ears. The Friday morning retraction was short and simple:

This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy. We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities. So rather than implement this change, we’ve decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.  

Blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as “adult” so that they can be placed behind an “adult content” warning page.

Bloggers whose content is consistent with this and other policies do not need to make any changes to their blogs.

Blogger’s ban on posting or linking to off-site commercial porn went into effect in 2013. It looks as though the site will simply continue to judge whether or not explicit content is being distributed for profit.

That’s probably a lot easier in the long run than assuming you know it when you see it.

H/T Engadget | Photo via Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.