Sunday, February 28, 2010

Google's response times

Was an Italian judge right to hold Google responsible for hosting a video showing a child with Downs Syndrome being bullied?

Tim Ireland has another view
, as does Malcolm Coles.

Certainly, Google don't make it easy to flag dubious content to them - I've had a fairly obnoxious blog (newportcity [dot] blogspot [dot] com) link-spamming me via my trackbacks (fnaar fnaar) - he's found a way of getting half-a-dozen trackbacks to this vile rubbish under every one of my posts and he has somehow masked his 'report abuse' link at the top of his blog (see mine) - a violation of his terms of use.

Because of this, I can't report him without taking a PhD in routing around Google's communications barriers. I've taken the easy route out of this by disabling trackbacks

I'm inclined to agree with Tim and Malcolm but with one caveat: Like a lot of business, Google will go to great lengths to avoid making value judgements. If it becomes easy to get content removed as long as you are persistent in demanding it, then it will mainly be wealthy people with resources that can put the time and energy into overcoming lower barriers.

Take Freedom of Information as a parallel. It's undoubtedly a good thing in principle that government should disclose information that is reasonably demanded (and much of that information should be freely available in the first place).

But the main beneficiary of FOI has not been ordinary people wanting government to be more accountable. It's been shady, well-funded organisations like The Taxpayers Alliance who have the resources to use it promoting their own agenda.

I'm not disagreeing with Tim and Malcolm. I'm just saying that symmetry is important here.


Anonymous said...

This is his Report Abuse link

Paulie said...

Yes - I remember now, I used that link before but it doesn't offer any scope to add comments saying *how* he's spamming me (it won't be immediately obvious and I wouldn't surprise if Google flag people who complain in a way that seems vexatious)