Days after announcing a ban on publishing sexually explicit images, Google has reversed its decision to impose the said blanket ban on adult content on Blogger.
Earlier this week Google announced its plans to change its content policy on Blogger. In a statement posted online, the company said that from March 23 this year users "won't be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity."
The notice to Bloggers behind the "adult" door read:
"In the coming weeks, we'll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video. We'll still allow nudity presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or presented where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking action on the content. The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted, but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the blog will be able to see the content we've made private."
This U-turn was mainly due to public outrage following its earlier announcement. The move could even have seen a mass exodus from the platform, which meant that Google had to take the negative responses into account.
Just three days after saying the material would be banned from public Blogger forum sites, Google, faced with "a ton of feedback", said it would instead "step up enforcement" against commercial and illegal porn.
Google however has said it would focus on enforcing its existing policy prohibiting commercial porn on these blogs.
Google bought Blogger in 2003. It was created by a company founded by Evan Williams, who would go on to co-found Twitter.
Blogging platforms have different approaches to porn and nudity. WordPress permits "mature content", but excludes it from public areas of the service and does not allow pornographic material such as "explicit sexual acts".
Announcing the move on the Blogger Help forums, Google's Jessica Pelegio posted, "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."
She added that 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," the post said.
Despite Google's U-turn, other mainstream hosting platforms have been cutting down on explicit material. Video-sharing app Vine recently changed its policy to hide pornographic and sexual footage. It did so in March last year, the Verge reports .
Google said that bloggers should continue to mark blogs which contain explicit content as "adult" so they can be placed behind a suitable "adult content" warning on the network.