MoveOn Blasts MySpace Over Censorship

    May 18, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

MoveOn’s executive director Eli Pariser called MySpace a "serial censorer of user-generated content" and presented a litany of complaints about the social networking site’s practices.

MoveOn Blasts MySpace Over Censorship
MoveOn Blasts MySpace Over Censorship

What happened to the Common Cause ad against media consolidation? Is MySpace planning to erect a toll road to its profiles for widget makers? Isn’t MySpace’s stance against ads in profiles a little disingenuous considering that Cingular is Tom Anderson’s number one friend?

MoveOn has some issues with MySpace, and aired them at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York. Pariser was scheduled to participate in a panel with MySpace spokesman Jeff Berman on user-generated content.

MySpace and MoveOn are politically polar opposites. MySpace’s owner, News Corp head Rupert Murdoch, lusts after the Wall Street Journal for its conservative journalism. MoveOn is vastly more comfortable with the likes of Al Gore and similar-minded people.

MoveOn wants to challenge MySpace over its community, namely the lack of say the community has over the changes MySpace makes, particularly when it comes to user-generated content. Censorship concerns have led to this criticism of MySpace, and MoveOn has launched an Internet User Rights initiative to combat it.

Several examples were cited by MoveOn in a statement about their complaints. They gave the Common Cause ad from January, a Rupert Murdoch parody from April, and a profile for a band called Kids On TV as examples of content censored by MySpace.

The arguments don’t seem to hold up well. Anyone who is on MySpace can also choose to leave MySpace. If a band feels it is being treated unfairly by the site, they can take down their content, put it up on a new site, and leave a link at MySpace for fans to follow.

Fox Interactive Media gets to make the rules for MySpace. Policies that alienate their users are unfortunate, but options do exist elsewhere. If enough users vote with their keyboards and head to Bebo or wherever, MySpace will either get the message and change an unpopular policy, or just watch those users leave.