On Wednesday, November 02, Bryan Jones shared a public post on Google+ protesting the censorship of artist Paul Roustan‘s art on Google+ which contained an album with 22 images. A handful of the images were quickly flagged by Google+ and some time on Friday, November 04, the post itself became restricted to other users.
Because Jones could still see the post, the movement he had sought to start to bring awareness to censorship practices on Google+ (illustrated by the hashtag #occupygpluscensorship), lost the momentum it had gained in the previous 48 hours. In a conversation with Googler Brian Rose, Rose told Jones that the post “should not have been automatically made private to me… something was wrong… and that he would follow up with Google’s Post team on Monday.”
There was never a notification from Google+ telling Jones the post had been made private or, when it was reinstated the following Monday, November 07, that it was accessible once again.
Whatever your views may be when it comes to flesh on social networks, you have to agree that a process that doesn’t notify users of actions being taken by a social network with regard to their content is one that breeds insecurity and doubt. How can we feel that Google+ is an extension of our homes when we can’t be sure that we’re allowed to voice our opinions? This situation is grave indeed.
Consider this matter beyond the content. Do you feel safe knowing that Google+ could silence your posts without warning? Are stated guidelines enough of a warning? How can Google+ do this better?