Blog censorship wins support

Blog censorship wins support

Summary: Most Americans believe bloggers should not be allowed to publish sensitive personal information about individuals, according to a new survey.Web hosting company Hostway this week released the results of its poll of 2,500 respondents on blogging.

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Most Americans believe bloggers should not be allowed to publish sensitive personal information about individuals, according to a new survey.

Web hosting company Hostway this week released the results of its poll of 2,500 respondents on blogging. Eighty percent of respondents did not believe that bloggers should be allowed to publish home addresses and other personal information about private citizens.

A further 72 percent favoured censorship of personal information about celebrities, and 68 percent information about elected or appointed government officials such as judges or mayors.

However, more than one-third of respondents had never heard of blogs before participating in the survey, and only around 30 percent of participants had actually visited a blog themselves.

While Americans were concerned about free speech, the survey revealed more moderate attitudes when it compared bloggers to journalists.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists, while 27 percent did not express an opinion. Free speech rights are protected under the first amendment of the US Bill of Rights, which says the US Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. Such rights are not enshrined in the Australian Constitution.

Despite the fact most respondents classed bloggers in the same category as journalists when it came to free speech, the survey revealed bloggers are not taken as seriously as traditional media.

For example, 39 percent said they found blogs less credible than newspaper articles, although an additional 32 percent said they either did not know or had no opinion.

The survey also tapped into patterns of blog usage, revealing most people used blogs to obtain information about politics or current events. This news may not come as a surprise to US political bloggers, who recently mobilised against a move by the country's Federal Election Commission (FEC) which would have imposed harsh rules on the blogging community.

The FEC is currently in the process of extending campaign finance rules to the Internet -- a process that involves, among other things, deciding if bloggers qualify as journalists.

Opinions were split on official company blogs, which have been in the news due to the high-profile sacking of Google employee Mark Jen, who claimed he was sacked for blogging about the company just 11 days after he started work there.

In contrast to Google, many prominent companies officially support the blogging efforts of their employees. Sun Microsystems and Microsoft in particular are noted for their company blogs.

While a majority of survey respondents agreed it was acceptable for a company to censor what appeared in the blogs of its employees, almost half said it wasn't acceptable to actually fire an employee for a controversial blog posting. And only a quarter of respondents supported the company's right to do so.

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9 comments
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  • Well I Guess Im one Fat American that doesn't support censorship of this kind.
    anonymous
  • I think the Bush administration has made Americans afraid of living, afraid of standing up for their rights. I believe that in this day and age our rights are slowly being sapped away from us in order to "protect" Americans from the terrorists and blah blah. We are bombarded with shots of attacks on trucks and stories about terrorist on the news everyday, and it makes people scared. As long as we are living in fear, the President and Congress can get whatever they want in the name of safety. We need to realize what is happening and where this country is heading if the citizens are slowly stripped of freedoms.
    anonymous
  • Wow, I must say that this is one serious abuse and misuse of statistics and therefore is not a valid study. First the title of the article implies that Americans want blogs to be censored completely, which is misleading. The fact of the matter is, the poll only states that Americans feel that personal information should not be posted on blogs. This question in itself is biased. Anyone who has any regard for their personal privacy would not want their personal information posted anywhere, be it in a newspaper or anywhere on the internet for that matter. You must also remember that this was not a scientific poll so there are no standard procedures to follow, meaning that we don't know if all 2500 respondants were from the same area (which could lead to bias results for various reasons) or if a portion of the respondants were from outside of the US. Bottom line, this study was not scientific and used biased questions and should not be taken seriously.
    anonymous
  • I think there should a reform of Poll Reporting, with this article I am under the supsicon the questions were not about blogging per se but about privacy concerns which targeted blogging as a potential proble,m, not really a realistic view of blogging as a whole. Maybe it's the news medias way to add a bit of FUD (Fear, Uncertainly and Dispair) into the largly free and potentially competitive open community discussions.

    I think we would all like to know the specific questions asked in order to help us judge if a survey or the responses were really unbiased.
    anonymous
  • The blogging meme still has an increasing rate of growth -

    http://www.realmeme.com/miner/preinflection.php?startup=/miner/preinflection/blogDejanews.png

    It's got to be close to peaking, though. The inflection point tends to occur when 50% of the population has been exposed. If 30% have already visited a blog, we'll probably see the interest in blogs peak within the next 12 months.
    anonymous
  • Blogs might be censored because Bush campaign workers found it harder to bribe bloggers.
    anonymous
  • This is absolute BS.

    The apparent effect that blogging is having within media and political circles is far ahead of its direct impact on the American public. Relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon, and fewer still are reading blogs with any frequency. Even among the most blog-conscious demographic -- 18- to 29-year-olds -- frequent blog reading is the exception.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/content/login.aspx?ci=15217


    Relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon of blogging...Three-quarters of the U.S. public uses the Internet at work, school, or home, but only one in four Americans are either very familiar or somewhat familiar with blogs...More to the point, fewer than one in six Americans (15%) read blogs regularly (at least a few times a month). Just 12% of Americans read blogs dealing specifically with politics this often.

    http://www.mysterypollster.com/main/2005/03/gallup_poll_on_.html
    anonymous
  • If blog censorship is instated, it will be as if saying that people cannot talk about their lives. The everyday experiences that people go through, as well as their opinions, should not be censored by any means. America was founded on certain principles. One of those is the freedom to express any sort of opinion or feeling. No law should be legislated just because someone higher up does not like to hear what other people feel and think every day.
    anonymous
  • Splendid read! We are just starting out in social networking and now we are attempting to learn how to fully take advantage of social networking for our small business.

    Keep up the good work!
    inanTieds