Will Google Shut Me Down?

Google, the company which owns the Blogger platform I utilize to post and host content, has been shutting down sites lately. Many have noted that most of the sites have been on the conservative end of the spectrum. In one recent example, a blog was shut down very shortly after its author called for the death of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Pundits have noted that similar practices occurred during the last presidential election and have also cited Google's ties to the Obama administration as proof of the company's biased approach and nefarious intent.

Google, the company which owns the Blogger platform I utilize to post and host content, has recently been placed on alert after a series of what appear to be politically-motivated attacks on websites it hosts. It appears that the sites in question are often spam attacked (or are reported to the platform to be spam) by those who disagree with the views of their authors. As per protocol, this triggers the Blogger team to shut the site down to review it. This practice, which was also noted during the last presidential election, seems to be back in vogue again as a self-styled conservative blog was recently shut down after its author called for the death of terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Readers will note the contrasting tones of the above paragraphs. Both describe the same set of events (I even used the same links) and both versions of the story have been reported in the press. I would like to take a few minutes to talk about why I think either scenario is disturbing.

I don't consider Blawgconomics to be a conservative blog by any means. However, I consider myself to be a staunch advocate for idea sharing, whether I agree with the views expressed or not. If Google has been eliminating blogs due to editorial content (particularly when that content is discussing a potential, currently legal, outcome of an ongoing trial), it is something that I believe deserves attention, and I would be happy to use this page as a forum to bring these practices to light if I believed doing so would help. If, eventually I were shut down, I would set up shop somewhere else.

That these disturbances could instead be the work of political operatives is no less concerning to me. I have written at length about my disappointment at the lack of civil political dialogue in the nation currently. As such, attacks on ideas are distasteful enough to me. Indeed, one of the only things I find more distasteful are attacks on one's ability to discuss their ideas in the first place. Shutting down the blog of someone you disagree with is childish, yes, but it is also cowardly and a dangerous action in a free society.

If one of our readers doesn't agree that KSM should be executed, or dislikes the death penalty, or conservative ideology in general, I would urge them to discuss it, to write about it. I will gladly offer space on this page to anyone who would like a forum to discuss ideas, no matter their political affiliation. Doing so is so much more productive and beneficial for society than simply silencing those you may disagree with. However, knowing my readers, I suppose I am preaching to the choir a bit.

While I don't particularly approve of everything Google is doing right now, and to answer the question in the title of this post, I don't believe that it will shut me down. I don't believe that the Blogger team is singling out blogs for harassment or strategic shutdowns. The company is an easy target for conservatives because of its ties to liberal causes/candidates and its big name, but I believe that scenario two above is the much more likely one. This is nonetheless disappointing as it is emblematic of the poor current state of public discourse in America. I hope Google is able to sort out this issue, otherwise it will be another stake in the hearts of logic and reason in a nation which could use healthy doses of both.


  1. Anonymous17/5/12 12:56

    Very well said. I hope the smart masses at Google can find a better algorithm to reduce the frequency of its abuse.

  2. Thanks so much for the comment.

    I agree that changing the algorithm is one solution. Another might be to change standard protocol.

    The Blogger team has already committed to reviewing all shut-down blogs marked as spam in a timely manner. Perhaps they could review the blogs in a timely manner before shutting them down?

    While I understand that spam is annoying, I don't get the sense that spam-blog issues are so pervasive as to require immediate shutdowns. However, maybe they aren't a problem because of the shutdowns, so it is tough to say for sure.

    In any case, I agree with you in hoping that a solution can be found, and quickly.