I am on the net all day long. No, seriously. I sit at a computer for about 10-12 hours every week day continuous connected to the internet and when I’m not there I have my trusty Crackberry™ at my side. You could say most of the dealings I have on a daily basis consist of speaking to people solely online. It’s my job (web developer), my grad studies (online applied anthropology program at UNT), my entertainment (World of Warcraft), and my release (blogging).
Today I’m plowing through code that keeps erroring out when I get a welcome distraction flittering up my screen as my gmail notifier makes it’s lovely murloc sound alerting me to the aggro of a new email:
to eaglemsg 10:00 am (5 hours ago)
Are you trying to find a safe, relaxed way to meet some of your classmates? Do you have some time to kill on Wednesday night?
Come to Facebook Live on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at Willis Library from 6-8PM. Meet a room full of UNT students at this instant friend-making event. You will have the opportunity to have several brief conversations with other students. We will privately pass on your Facebook and/or Myspace info to those you select. It’s easy, fun, and free!
At first I delete it as I am not an on-campus student. Then I stopped, wait a minute – was that just an email about a face to face social networking meeting? Then I went to my gmail trashcan and retrieved it in awe. While an event like this does make sense in the scheme of things, I wonder if they really had any idea of what it means to take online social interaction to a face to face meeting.
It is my experience that people are a lot more confident online. It is easier portray oneself in a specific way online than it is to do so in real life. Add to that a sense of anonymity and the protection of time and distance, someone you meet face to face could be (and likely is) a somewhat different person online. So, what happens when people are thrown into a face to face social mixer where the purpose is to later hook up with these people online? I would love to study this!
After I retrieved this message from the trashcan I went about my usually daily business of working and trying to figure out .net via trial by fire. I kept hitting road blocks so I finally headed off to facebook for some brainless activity while checking in on my friends via my feeds. A classmate of mine (well, she’s in the 2nd year of the program I am in at UNT) has many of the same interests as I do and I love seeing what she has recently bookmarked to her del.icio.us account. Turns out one of her latest bookmarks was on the same topic of face to face social networking, but he addressed it as Real Live Human Social Networking. Hitting that page not only gave me someone new to twitter after reading his article on Deeper Twittering, but he also brought back to mind this email that I saved this morning to post about later. All of that reminded me of a Twitter from Brian Oberkirch about Social Network Portability, which took me to further surfing on Microformats and this fascinating masters project.
I’m glad my brain has its own filing system and that del.icio.us exists, otherwise I’d never be able to keep track of all the wonderful things I happen upon on a daily basis.
Something I’d like to blog more about later – the term “Real Life” as it refers to in person events versus events that happen online. Are events that happen online not also “real life” events that just take place in a different time and space?
Paying customers versus advertisers and free speech versus internet watch dog groups, this is the tangled web our very own Livejournal has found itself in lately.
The crux of the issue is not necessarily that Livejournal deleted several journals arbitrarily because of terms contained within their interests such as “molestation” as had been listed by several who survived such an atrocity. Or, even terms such as lolita – as in a reading group for Vladimir Nabokov‘s book Lolita. Hell, it’s not even about all the slashfic and fanfic communities that were caught in the crossfire of what seems to have been an action by LJ to target pedophiles. No, the Livejournal community is really in an uproar about the 1) lack of warning so that users could back up their work, 2) lack of public communication about the incident, and 3) lack of an appeals process as of yet. As you can see by that first link to the last news post as of today (it’s since hit max comments of 5000 – 100 pages), a few are doing their best to document the entire fiasco including creating a community who’s only purpose is to count those who are into and support fandoms.
Due to the fact that unlike several other social networking sites, Livejournal provides a service that has been active for over 8 years and has long time paying customers (some of whom have even purchased $150 permanent accounts), this seems to me to be a rather touchy situation. Advertising is a relatively new venture for Livejournal, an open source project that was started in 1999 by
In several past situations as represented on the WFI site (please be cautious when clicking this link there are suspicions of malware being pushed onto visitors of that site though I have no proof of this all I can do is pass along the warning) Livejournal has respected the privacy and freedoms of its users with its liberal Terms of Service stating that they will not police journals or place a limit on the appropriateness of journal’s content and they have pushed back on people reporting abuse just because someone felt the content of a journal was morally objectionable. As this was standard practice for the last 8 years, you can understand why it was such a shock for 1000s of people who either had their personal journal or their favorite community deleted without so much of a public mention as to why.
WFI has issued their latest statement on the issue.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
LiveJournal – Six Apart Delete Hundreds of Pedophile Sites
LiveJournal Says No to Pedophiles:
Setting a new precedent, LiveJournal, owned by Six Apart Incorporated, deleted over 500 of its sites or journals today. Responding to requests from Warriors For Innocence, LiveJournal chose to remove sites that promote pedophilia, child sex, child abuse, and other illegal activities.
LiveJournal has revised their Terms Of Service (TOS) to include new standards that will ensure that they protect the safety and well-being of everyone who visits LiveJournal.
As pedophiles and their sympathizers scramble to find new hosting options, we will be following them and contacting each web host in order to work to enforce a TOS that will ensure that these hosts maintain a responsible and respectable reputation.
LiveJournal and Six Apart have taken a very important step. They chose to maintain accountability for the content placed on their sites. By setting this precedent, they have opened the door for other web hosting companies like Blogger/Google, Blog.com, Xanga, WordPress, and others to follow in their footsteps.
Special thanks go out to Scott Kraft, the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Six Apart, and Denise Paolucci, the Manager of Customer Service for LiveJournal. They have both been very helpful.
Many LJ users have that have had their journals deleted are complaining to WFI that we targeted them and that we are on a witch hunt to shut down innocent sites.
To answer your questions and concerns, we do know what Lolita is and no, we did not report sites that are about Lolita fashion. Those sites were deleted by LJ because LJ (not WFI) chose to delete all sites with certain “interests” listed.
“Did it ever occur to you people that some of the people who have “incest” or “rape” in their interests are victims of said action?”
Yes, it did. We can tell the difference between a pedophile site and a survivor/support group site. And no, we did not ask for the survivor/support group sites to be deleted. We actually expressed our concern over keeping them up and running even though their interests may be listed as the same as a pedophile site.
You may find it easy to blame us for the deletion of these sites, but we are disturbed by their deletions as well. LJ is obviously trying to avoid accusations of discrimination by deleting all sites with specific interests listed. They made that decision, not WFI. Go ahead and point a finger at us. Call us vigilantes and idiots. Accuse us of banning or deleting you. But you forgot something. LJ is hosting your sites. It’s their call, not WFI’s.
I have no problem standing up and saying that yes, innocent journals were deleted by LJ. Yes it was done because I complained to LJ about pedophiles on their site. Yes, this has caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. And yes, I am sorry that there has been mass hysteria over this. But NO, we are not responsible. I will not take the blame for LJ enforcing their rules as they see fit. I may have been the catalyst, but I did not make the decisions for LJ. LJ can delete any journals that THEY view as containing objectionable content. Childish complaints that I “targeted” this journal, or that journal, are misplaced, and serve no purpose.
Many of you see us as wacky, unreliable, and misguided. You question the legality and legitimacy of what we do. You’ve threatened to turn us into the police and to call Quantico. You’ve threatened to sue us. You wonder who we are and what TOS we follow.
Well, here’s the scoop. We are Warriors For Innocence. We are not a non profit organization. We are a group of people who are sick and tired of pedophiles and child molesters hurting children and having a say on the internet without any type of accountability.
This site is a blog. It does not have a TOS. Being a group of people, we answer to the law and to ourselves. We do not break the law and we do not advocate breaking the law. For those of you who have been wondering, our Predator Barrier page is perfectly legal. Have you ever watched To Catch a Predator? Maybe you should.
Yes, we are working to clear out the RSO’s and predators on MySpace. We just don’t post about it.
“Can’t you people see that by attacking fandom journals, you’re driving the real pedophiles underground…”
No, that’s not the case. First of all, we didn’t attack fandom journals. Second, the “real pedophiles” are on many sites. They post on pedophile chat boards. They are on there now posting where their new sites are moving to. And yes, we will be following them, and we will be more proactive in the future at protecting ‘innocent’ sites.
There are sites where pedophiles are telling very young children that what their parents are teaching them is wrong, and that they should listen to pedophiles because they know what’s best for them. That bad touch is not really bad just because your parent’s said so. This is dangerous to children.
There are sites that advocate the lowering of the age of consent for sex. They describe their encounters with small children and talk about how sexy the 5 year old was and how turned on they are when the child smiles at them.
They also post explicit child rape stories for the purpose of sexually arousing themselves and other pedophiles.
This is pedophilia. This is why we do what we do.
Labels: Child Safety, LiveJournal, Pedophile
posted by Sues at 02:04
While it is important for a business to be concerned with its advertising revenue, one has to wonder who the advertisers will advertise to if the users take their revenue elsewhere. Just take a look at the number of members that belong to
Update 3:51am: Livejournal Responds!
Current Fandom Counts Numbers
Maintainers: 2: krisomniac, vichan
Moderators: 2: krisomniac, vichan
Members: 22848: View Members.
Account type: Basic Account
Digg is a social bookmarking site that allows users to ‘digg’ news stories found all over the net adding them to their list of stories and allowing users to comment on the stories everyone else adds as well. The benefit of this is that the more times a story is ‘dugg’ (the more popular it gets), the more likely it will make it to the coveted Digg front page. Many sites strive to be on Digg’s front page because that sends more traffic their way.
On May 1st Digg started censoring any Diggs that went to websites where a code to get past DMCA HD DVD encoding was posted. This is where we start getting into the Cyber Anthro territory. The censoring was noticed rather quickly and the users retaliated by resubmitting the diggs over and over and over again until the site was finally brought down.
Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…
But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.
If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.
The fire quickly spread over to Wikipedia where people continuously tried to submit it there as well causing Wikipedia to start protecting related pages from new posts, and the entire event has since been given a wiki entry of its own!
To top it all off the code itself now has its own website (http://www.09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0.ws/)
What do you think about the issues surrounding the censorship on social networking sites and the response to it all by the communities and users involved?
This in effect left thousands of user profiles with broken links to their previously accessible material and could have adversely affected Photobucket had there been a decrease in traffic. While this may not sounds like a major cyber anthro story, something to consider here is how the community reacted.
Photobucket responded by posting to their own blog stating what they thought of the measure and what to do to counteract it.
“We believe that by limiting your ability to personalize your pages with content from any source, MySpace is contradicting the very belief of personal and social media. MySpace became successful because of the creativity of you, its users, and because it offered a forum for self-expression. By severely restricting this freedom, MySpace is showing that it considers you as a commodity which it can treat as it sees fit.
What can you do?
Vote with your feet and your keyboards. Tell MySpace how you feel.
- Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to give them your thoughts.
- Send a MySpace bulletin to all your friends telling them to also give MySpace their feedback.
- You can also post a comment on this blog.”
Imagine this outside of the internet. How would the information have been disseminated to it’s community? Do you think this would have worked to make a difference?
ZDNet captured the essence of the struggle here stating:
“The monetization of MySpace, Rupert Murdoch is all business and he’s going to push a lot of initiatives to make money. The big question is whether monetization alienates users and hurts MySpace growth.
The staying power of social sites. Photobucket is urging its users to vote with their keyboards and complain to MySpace. The big picture: MySpace is looking more like a walled garden every day. That’s fine, but at some point it’s going to look more AOL-ish. In other words, MySpace is going to lose its cool. How well does a customer lock-in strategy work on a social site? There are no simple answers, but the fall could come quickly. Just as peer pressure fueled growth it could also result in an exodus. The momentum can cut both ways. That fact is one reason why I’m wary of the “pay anything for a social site” approach.
It’s likely this Photobucket vs. MySpace spat will blow over, but the big picture issues are going to remain for a while.”
I think he makes a crucial point here. It’s the community that drives social networking sites, which means the community also has the power to cause these sites to fail. When you affect a large enough piece of the population in such a way that it looks as though you are taking away a freedom you’ve already bestowed upon it (and is likely what part of the attraction to the social networking site was in the first place), they are likely to revolt in one way or another. The most devastating of which here would be of course to take their social networking elsewhere.
While this has indeed blown over, it is likely the next time something like this happens that MySpace users won’t be so forgiving.
What am I talking about? What is Twitter and Jaiku and why should a cyber anthropologist be interested? How about a way to keep up with people, talk to people, cyber stalk people, and lurk a never ending sms feed where each ‘post’ is in 140 characters or less. One thing of interest here is it blurs the lines between the ‘net’ and phone texting, pulling mobile phones and their use more and more into the realm of cyber anthropology as they become another cultural tool through applications such as these.
Though I’ve lumped these two applications together because their nominal function is much in the same, there has recently been a large ‘surface’ cultural shift from twitter to jaiku as you can see when doing a google search for the terms. A few big names have made their move from Twitter to Jaiku public and that has caused the blogosphere to notice these applications and now their tug-of-war a bit more. While it is not the technology we focus on as anthropologists, I find it interesting what attracts people to one scene over another as well as how people move online and where their nomadic inclinations take them. I believe this fight will likely come down to community over ‘features’, but that may be the anthropologist in me talking.
I am not going to say this is the next big cyber cultural ‘thing’, however, I do think applications such as these that incorporate both the use of computers (browsers/IMs) and phones (texting/sms) are definitely what the masses are attracted to and for good reason. For those who ‘live’ online, if you can be anywhere with anyone and still in contact with everyone else in a very no strings attached to any one person sort of way, why wouldn’t you?