The state of Livejournal

Is anyone else creeped out by the slowing changing policy shifts in Livejournal, whereby now they are policing our journals? Are these not our private journals, and are we therefore not free to write whatever the hell we want to write in them without having some corporate (Russian, mind you – that should tell you something) entity slapping a “warning label” on them? Who exactly do they think they’re warning? How often do minors stumble across blogs they haven’t other wise been directed to? And if they do stumble across things that may be “inappropriate” for them, shouldn’t it be their parents’ responsibility to police this?

I spoke with about this a few months ago, as she called this state of affairs well before it was happening, and as much as I love my little Livejournal, love the communities here, and feel like moving my journal would be a major pain in the ass, I am tempted to do just that. Because these policy decisions kind of piss me off, in principle. And not because I think I have anything that Livejournal would bother slapping a warning label on.

Is it even constitutional? What are the limits and rules around free speech when it comes to the internet?

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~ by realsupergirl on March 9, 2008.

9 Responses to “The state of Livejournal”

  1. You can say whatever you want to the internet, but we are using their business to publish it (their software, servers, etc.) Personally, I am doing it for free, so although I am very unhappy about your above post, I don’t feel I have much ground to stand on in any complaint I might make. (Actually even if I were paying for it, the company that owns livejournal can still do whatever they want legally.) That said, I am not sure this is a good decision for livejournal, business or otherwise.

    I am sure could offer advice (if you needed it) should you decided to self-publish your journal.

    I agree that I would be hard pressed to leave livejournal–it has so many features I like built in (like “friends-only” posts) that would be really hard for me to create.

  2. I bought a permanent membership well before Live Journal was bought by Six Apart, so I’m sort of tied to LJ now. I knew things would get worse both when LJ was acquired by 6A, and when 6A was acquired by the Russians, but I’ve already committed. I don’t know when I’ll move my journal, but I guess it will happen eventually.

  3. I have a permanent account too. You have no free speech rights on LiveJournal and they can terminate any journal at any time. It’s in the Terms of Service we all agreed to when we started our accounts. But if too many people left LiveJournal, the site would not be worth what they paid for it.

  4. The right to free speech is protection against government interference. So as long as the government does not prohibit one speaking, private prohibitions are perfectly fine.

  5. I don’t understand how anyone thinks these are “private journals.” They’re the equivalent of public newsletters about our lives. If you publish them on the Internet, and you’re not locking them down, they’re right out there for anyone with Internet access to see. I think the whole expectation of privacy is unrealistic.

  6. I don’t expect privacy, that’s why I blog rather than write in my own private journal. But I do expect to be able to control my own blog, and make decisions about who should and should not read it.

    Others here have pointed out, however, that as a private corporation providing a service, I suppose they ultimately get to call the shots. But it isn’t very good business, if users leave en masse because they don’t want to be controlled.

  7. LiveJournal are also complete fucking hypocrites about which communities and journals they censor. Perfectly G-rated posts from people who sometimes write erotica are screened with that stupid age-warning. But a very brief search shows that tips on how girls can starve themselves into the hospital or even to death are posted with no screening. I keep waiting for Feministing to come out with their promised blogspace, but so far nothing.

  8. Oh, absolutely. I generally don’t agree with the mainstream rating systems (such as movie ratings) for this very reason. They don’t differentiate between whether the sex and violence is glorified or whether it’s portrayed respectfully. Like, how Shakespeare in Love is rated R because there’s a very gentle, romantic, respectfully portrayed sex scene. But Dude, Where’s My Car? is PG-13 with all its degrading “hey look at her knockers” comments and the glorifying of pot smoking. Personally, I’d let a kid watch either film, and we’d talk about the pros and cons of media that objectifies women and glorifies things like driving while high. But society tells me, through the mainstream ratings system, that the first film would require a much more in-depth little talk if I were to let my kid watch it.

    (As for legality, LJ can delete/screen/rate/warn posts in any way they choose. They’re a private business, and they absolutely get to choose what can be posted in space that they own, just as I get to choose who comes into my living room and for what purpose. The first amendment refers only to the government interfering with one’s expression.)

  9. Oh, absolutely. I generally don’t agree with the mainstream rating systems (such as movie ratings) for this very reason. They don’t differentiate between whether the sex and violence is glorified or whether it’s portrayed respectfully. Like, how Shakespeare in Love is rated R because there’s a very gentle, romantic, respectfully portrayed sex scene. But Dude, Where’s My Car? is PG-13 with all its degrading “hey look at her knockers” comments and the glorifying of pot smoking. Personally, I’d let a kid watch either film, and we’d talk about the pros and cons of media that objectifies women and glorifies things like driving while high. But society tells me, through the mainstream ratings system, that the first film would require a much more in-depth little talk if I were to let my kid watch it.

    (As for legality, LJ can delete/screen/rate/warn posts in any way they choose. They’re a private business, and they absolutely get to choose what can be posted in space that they own, just as I get to choose who comes into my living room and for what purpose. The first amendment refers only to the government interfering with one’s expression.)

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