There’s been an outcry on LiveJournal as of late due to certain liberties being stripped. In an overzealous reaction to a barely literate organization LiveJournal has suspended numerous accounts and communities for having keywords such as rape or incest. No research or investigation was done. Numerous of these groups were support communites for survivors of rape and other horrific abuses. Even more absurd a literary group discussing Nabokov’s “Lolita” was banned. I understand the legal pressures that they may feel. Shutting down groups that preach abusive behavior is one thing, but to go after any group merely by doing a keyword search is draconian, ignorant, and abusive. It’s sad that in this climate of declining liberties that places that once stood for the open sharing of ideas now contribute to the supression of a liberty that is enshrined at the very foundation of this country. That right to express our beliefs, and the ability to feel safe in open discourse is something that makes this nation very unique. Freedom of speech and the press are not given liberties even in many First World nations. Many groups are battling with our national leaders to preserve these rights, now we face attacks by the private sector whose very business model was built upon these rights.
It might not seem like such a big deal now, but if given just an inch, next time they’ll take a foot. Left unchecked it could lead to the censorship and banning of any group that could possibly offend any other member. Where do you draw the line? I’m sure I’ll continue to post to my LiveJournal account about the more mundane things, but it has lost its appeal as a place where I can express anything other than every day events such as letting people know about a get together. I really hope that a public outcry by the massive LiveJournal user base will help them rethink their policies. At the very least investigate claims, examine their merit before jumping the gun and banning people because of a potentially offensive keyword. SixApart (the parent company of LiveJournal) could take this as a chance to stand up and buck the trend of ever increasing regulation of internet speech. They could raise the banner of open dialog between peers and stand up to those who would oppress one of our most basic, and yet most unique of rights.