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MySpace's Tom Anderson weighs in on censored pics on Google+

December 29, 2011 |  2:36 pm

Google

Call it the tempest in Google+.

Former TechCrunch writer and current blogger/venture capitalist MG Siegler stirred things up this week by complaining that Google's politically correct overlords had censored his profile picture because in it -- not sure how to put this delicately -- he was giving the world the finger.

SearchEngineLand's Danny Sullivan explained Google's rationale (in a post on Google+): "Why's Google care so much if +MG Siegler wants a middle finger in his Google+ profile picture? Because in turn, that has him giving the finger in Google's search results. And that mess is kind of Google's own doing on how it has linked author pictures so much to Google+ profiles."

Now in a blast from the past, Tom Anderson has taken to Google+ to pounce on the debate. As the co-founder of Myspace, the guy who was everyone's automatic friend on the service, he has a lot to say including this: MySpace became a "cesspool" because people put up all kinds of potentially offensive content.

"All Google+ has done here is execute on its stated plan: removing offensive photos. This is Facebook’s plan, Twitter's plan and Myspace's before it. When you’re processing hundreds of thousands of photos a day (and in Facebook’s case, millions a day), it’s not easy to spot such material (even with algorithms). It’s not that Google+ has decided to do things differently, it’s just that they’re ahead of the game and doing things better," Anderson wrote.

Further, Anderson says users of Google+ (and presumably Google) "don't need to see you flipping us off, nor do we need to see you naked, or displaying something else generally considered offensive. When a social network lets that stuff slide, it turns into a cesspool that no one wants to visit … sorta like Myspace was."

In a Twitter post, Siegler responds: "As much as I enjoy #fingergate I do have this other job I'm attempting to do..."

The real beneficiary may be Google+ itself which, if you believe predictions from the armchair statisticians out there, is starting to get some real traction.

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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Surfboards decorate the main lobby at one of Google's offices in Santa Monica in 2007. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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