Censorship by default

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or “inconvenient” as determined by government authorities.

Last week I participated in Share our Shit Saturday at the last minute with a hastily written post. This week I want to do it properly and explain why I think censorship needs to be viewed with caution.

Back in April, I was working at a place, in the UK, that used Sky Broadband. Naturally, I had the business of erotic writing and reading to tend to. But I was blocked from the sites I needed to use, including my own. Upon further investigation, I found out Sky puts an automatic block on any sites that are deemed unsuitable for those under the age of 13 – by default.

I spoke to the people who paid for the broadband and they were not aware of this at all. To get the block removed it is necessary to ring the providers, giving all sorts of memorable information and passwords. However, in their literature, they do not advise that you take the filters off. I did find a way of circumnavigating the block but it involved deleting cookies, changing settings and such like. Even then the stay only lasted about half an hour.

Critically mature

I resent being treated like a child. As an adult, I really am able to critically look at a site, or a book or photo and make a constructive decision as to whether it is something I want to investigate. I do not need this done for me by the self-appointed guardians who are constantly attempting to brainwash the masses regarding what they should think, do and see. Cara Thereon made a very salient point, in her last weeks #soss post, by pointing out how the world at large is not comfortable at all with something as natural and pleasurable as sex.

Even though everyone is having sex they want it hidden like a dirty secret. We seem to have acquired a state-enforced Victorian attitude to watching sex or reading about it.

One of the things I enjoy about being a sex blogger is the openness involved. Good sex should be bound by communication and honesty. Pretending that porn does not exist is dishonest. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want the underage having access to X rated content. However, I feel it is the responsibility of the real guardians, the family adults, to actively parent their children and keep them safe. It is their job to put the various blocks into place, not the corporate censors.

More censorship to come

And it does not stop here. From April 2018 the government are thinking of putting laws into place that mean people in the UK will have to prove they are 18 before being allowed to access pornography websites. (Let’s just remember legally in the UK you can have sex at 16 – but apparently not watch it!)

If verification requires the person to enter bank card details. This will inevitably open the door to problems such as fraud . Not to mention the cost to sites in implementing the necessary software. (The last mention I can find regarding this proposition is July of this year).

Where will it stop?

My man – an ex-journalist for a well known British newspaper – wanted to add this in regards to censorship of the world wide web and age verification checks –

And it is here that we can see the deceptively thin end of the censorship wedge inserted into our online lives beneath the smokescreen of “public safety” and “child protection”. The idea, as always, is to gain acceptance for one form of “security check” before the inevitable expansion into more and yet more – in the relentless drive towards George Orwell’s 1984-style surveillance over everything we read, see or think. For this reason alone, we should resist any attempt to bully us into submitting to state oversight of what is, after all, our private and personal lives.

Censorship, in general, is broadening in all areas. Free speech being cast out to make room for a safe space. But trying to shut people up does not change their opinions. I do not advocate hate speech but I will fight for your right to voice your opinion even if I do not agree with it.

Twitter censorship

Shadow-banning on Twitter is another way of censoring what we are able to see. Apparently, Twitter maintains a ‘whitelist’ of favoured Twitter accounts and a ‘blacklist’ of unfavoured accounts. Whitelisted users are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular. Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines. The blacklist will, of course, contain those who tweet about sex-related matters or political content deemed to be “incorrect”.

Once more they are making the choice for us. The box on Twitter settings, to stop sensitive content, is checked by default. For goodness sake, I write about sex. I want to read about it too and see content on Twitter that contains references to sex. I LOVE SEX.

Last week Girl on the Net and Eros Blog wrote about the whole issue and proposed we share posts we have enjoyed in the recent past, on a Saturday – when you have time – tweeting it to #SoSS – Share Our Shit Saturday or even #SSoS

I think it is so important that as a community of erotic writes – sex-bloggers – whatever you want to call it, we get together and share our articles, photography and stories. Let the world know that we have sex and it’s a positive thing to do, not a shameful one. In fact, we love it so much that we write about it!

Sharing is caring

When ever I have the time on a friday/saturday I am going to share 3 links on my blog. Promoting them to #SoSS on Twitter. Please take a few minutes to click on to them and enjoy!

Building Sites Modestly Revisited ~ By Modesty Ablaze

Every time I go over to Modesty’s site I smile. I have said on Twitter that sometimes she literally lights up my day with her amusing posts and photos. This post was published for Wicked Wednesday.

Hawk and Hen ~ By Clear eyed girl – Eye.

Many will know Eyes beautiful photos but her writing is just as impressive. This was written a few weeks ago. Reading it rang so many bells for me. Her content is always honest and thought-provoking.

Kinky Sex in a Hotel Room ~ By Nero Black

I really enjoy reading Nero’s posts as they are down to earth and real. He says it as it is – which is very refreshing. The post I have recommended here is a particularly hot one from a few weeks ago. Originally posted for masturbation Monday Nero tells us about his experience of anal sex on holiday.


12 thoughts on “Censorship by default”

  1. Hi May, just caught up with this excellent post. Well done you for writing about it – it’s clearly the thin edge of the wedge here…
    i always find it weird that no matter how often I post to wicked wednesday I always have to add the word sex to the name in order for google to provide me with the correct result!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, Indie – censorship and free speech is a little bit of a bugbear of mine…

  2. Lenny Bruce had a stand up bit he did back in the sixties where he would set up this hypothetical scene for a movie. “Man enters room and there is a beautiful woman lying on the bed. There is a big fluffy pillow on the bed as well. If the man smothers the woman with the pillow that’s okay. But if the pillow ends up under her ass and they make love. BANNED! CENSORED! PORNOGRAPHIC!”

    Seems things haven’t changed much to this very day.

    I think violence is more hurtful to formative youngsters and those with delicate sensibilities; but there is that old conundrum. Censor what I do not like and allow what I do like? That’s were the dilemma starts. It as always ends with me as the gate keeper to my own soul. Let in as little junk as possible and cherish as much of the worlds beauty as I can.

    Now play nice all you consenting adults. #SoSS

    1. Thanks for commenting Pete – I don’t remember Lenny but my man does, and told me a few other stories about him. You are so right about being the gatekeeper to your own soul – very poignant x

  3. Very well said. Censorship has reared its ugly head in a number of nasty ways that seem to be getting worse and worse.

    Facebook has always been a bit difficult, but for a long time they didn’t seek out posts to censor, they only did it when a post was reported. I’m told that has now changed, and along with their invasive face recognition technology, their algorithms look for nipples and bare breasts. I’ve also seen posts deleted that advocated for more respect for transexuals, under the guise that the word “tranny” was hate speech.

    Patreon also recently made changes to their policy that will hurt writers on adult themes who were able to use that medium as a means of financial support. Tumbler has made sexual material invisible to search engines. Pinterest’s policies seem to be unevenly enforced, but (in general) erotic material is unwelcome there too.

    Google’s own search algorithms even penalize people who have pop-ups upon entry to a blog warning for NSFW content. That may not be deliberately aimed at blogs with sexual material, as it seems google’s position is that instant popups are less than ideal for user experience. But it sure works to penalize folks trying to notify the world of their adult content…

    Fetlife has had serious problems with the banks who processed contributions from folks who wished to support the site. In essence, the banks wished to control Fetlife’s content in return for the right to have credit card contributions processed.

    A number of individuals vending BDSM products have had PayPal accounts suspended. In some cases, they had significant balances that were “frozen” while they faced the specter of Animal House style “double secret probation’.

    If I wasn’t under the weather today, I’m sure I’d have even more examples come to mind. No matter how many examples are provided, the point remains the same. The winds of change seem to have turned.

    I’m a little reminded of the play/movie Cabaret. (Probably because of something I”m writing.) Everything’s beautiful in the beginning, even the orchestra. Not so much at the end.

    It’s a dark wind that’s blowing. It seems society is regressing in a number of important ways, our sexual freedoms and freedom of expression just being two of the examples.

    This is a big issue, a critically important issue. I honestly believe that there’s a significant element within a good number of world governments that would enjoy nothing more than to silence all voices willing to embrace our sexual beings, to quiet anyone who will speak about human sexuality in all its wonderful guises.

    So, there’s a lot at stake! I’m so very happy to see May (among others) tackling this issue. I’m really under the weather at the moment (bronchitis) but this issue won’t rest!

    Thank you for helping to shine a light on this issue.

    1. Thank you for your excellent comment Michael. – I agree with all you have said and look forward to a post about it from you – hope you are well soon x

  4. Thanks for plugging my post! And thanks for tipping me off about ‘shadow-banning’ too since I just opened up a bunch social media accounts and organized them to cross post to each other automatically – which is exactly what can get you shadow-banned. And it turns out I’m using all the wrong hashtags too since they could also lead to a shadow ban. (Google it people!)

    You’re right to be angry about this censorship-by-stealth that seems to be taking over the internet. And your man is right about how this can also lead to a environment where we all give up our rights to privacy by giving the State access to our personal data. And yes it will be done so we can ‘protect children from exploitation’ because who can argue with that?

    Just like we have given up so many of our civil rights already in order to protect ourselves from Terrorism.

Comments welcome Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.