Tom Anderson, the guy who was everybody’s friend on MySpace (by default), has weighed in on the whole Google censoring profile photos discussion. He’s never had any trouble with his iconic profile pic.
Said discussion began this week when tech writer MG Siegler put up a blog post discussing Google deleting his photo (of himself flipping off the camera). We wrote about this, talking about the broader reasoning for Google doing this, which is search.).
Anderson, with his experience at MySpace has a perspective about the whole thing that those of us who have not worked for popular social networking services just don’t have, and he clearly thinks Google+ is succeeding where MySpace failed. Here’s an excerpt from his post (where he calls MySpace a cesspool):
All Google+ has done here is execute on its stated plan: removing offensive photos. This is Facebook’s plan, Twitter’s plan and MySpace’s before it. When you’re processing hundreds of thousands of photos a day (and in Facebook’s case, millions a day), it’s not easy to spot such material (even with algorithms). It’s not that Google+ has decided to do things differently, it’s just that they’re ahead of the game and doing things better. (As they are also doing with their spam detection and removal algorithms. I don’t know what you’re seeing, but they catch and hide 95% of the spam comments that appear on my posts.)
In any case, I would respectfully submit that we, the users of Google+ (and Facebook or Twitter) don’t need to see you flipping us off, nor do we need to see you naked, or displaying something else generally considered offensive. When a social network let’s that stuff slide, it turns into a cesspool that no one wants to visit… sorta like MySpace was.
It was very difficult @ MySpace to keep up with the “offensive” photos, and we had decent technology and many warm bodies on the case. (In fact, I’d guess the average person would be shocked how much time and resources we had to put into trying to stop that.) Your suggestion that you should get “warned” is too time-consuming. You want someone to check up on you and make sure you complied with the warning? The limited resources Google could use for something like that would be better spent giving human interaction to questions on how to use the service, technical troubles, etc. Things that seem simple are not as soon as you have 10s of millions of users.
By the way, I’m glad to see Tom still capitalizing the S in MySpace.