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Policy/procedure change and account suspension discussion
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theljstaff wrote in lj_policy
We are planning one additional clarification to the Policies and Procedures. It has been the long-standing practice of LiveJournal to treat photographs of post-pubescent minors (under age 18) in which genitalia or breasts are clearly shown, or photographs where sexualization of a minor is apparent, as unacceptable content, with exception of photographs that in our good faith opinion serve legitimate news or educational purposes. In cases like these, the journal has been permanently suspended, and the content forwarded to the NCMEC due to concerns about child pornography laws.

Now, in the case of non-sexualized photographs of teenagers where breasts or genitalia are shown, we will no longer permanently suspend the account. Because of the borderline nature of that content, we have changed our practices at this time. When the content reported to us is photographic nudity of minors which is non-sexual in nature, we will take the following actions:

1. Upon being reported to us, we will email the users who have posted such content, and require that the photograph be removed within 24 hours.

2. If the photograph is not removed, we will temporarily suspend the account, and provide instructions for unsuspending the account and removing the offending photograph.

3. Noncompliance after unsuspending the account in order to remove the material or repeat violations will result in permanent suspension.

Therefore we will not be changing what is unacceptable content on LiveJournal, but we will be changing our take-down procedure for this type of content, and we will be making an addition to our policy document to make this clear.

We would also like to present for your consideration and discussion the options for technical changes in the suspension process that we are currently considering.

1. One of the options that is under discussion for implementation in the future is to suspend or lock down single entries; currently, only entire journals can be suspended. This would prevent users from having their entire journal suspended for a single violating entry, allowing them to continue using their accounts. This would also allow people who read that journal to continue viewing their other entries which do not contain any violations. The entry could later be unsuspended/unlocked when they have removed the violating content.

2. Currently, when an account is suspended, all entries in the journal are hidden from view; users viewing the journal can only see an announcement that the account has been suspended.
We are considering a possible change that, under some circumstances, would preserve the user's journal in a "read only" state. The journal would be available for reading, but new content could not be posted to it. The user would also be able to delete his or her journal altogether after it has been locked if they do not wish for it to be viewable.

Please, keep in mind that neither of these options are set in stone and are still in the process of discussion. However, in line with out new policy of openness, we wanted to get your opinions on this matter.

So a picture of a five-year-old girl without a shirt is OK, a picture of a five-year-old boy without a shirt is okay, a picture of a fifteen-year-old boy without a shirt is okay, but a picture of a fifteen-year-old girl without a shirt is not okay? That's incredibly arbitrary.

Well, sure. But I feel like that arbitrariness is a broader social problem, not a specific to LJ problem. LJ can't really do anything about the fact that people (and the USA laws) find it much easier to sexualize a girl's nipples than a boy's.

#1 sounds reasonable to me in this situation.

#2 sounds reasonable in situations involving entire journal suspension.

*thumbs up*

I think the single-entry lockdown is quite a good idea.

Will you be taking into consideration if the entry is friends-locked vs public? I mean, lets say a 16 or 17 year old girl posts a photo of herself topless, and she's discussing getting a boob job, if the entry is friends locked, will that be something that you'd deem unacceptable?

I like the idea of "locking down" single entries instead of the whole journal.

Edited at 2008-07-03 08:25 pm (UTC)

Yes, this would still apply to friends-locked entries - but, just to clarify, we don't go looking for violations and can only be made aware of something if we receive a report about it.

Just want to be clear here: so all nude photographs of minors are no longer allowed? Artistic, or otherwise? So ixnay on naked baby bathing pictures?

Because that is not clear in the post above.

A baby picture in a bathtub is fine - this is specifically to address photographs of nude post-pubescent teenagers.

I really like both of those suggestions, and would like to see them implemented.

This all makes sense: not so much punishment on accusation, gives everyone time to communicate.

One addition to both #1 and #2, as spectralbovine says, you could make the temporarily suspended journal "Friends-Only", so any more offenses would not appear in a publish space.

I'd support this because the affect of having a journal suspended, even if it's erroneous and later reversed, can be to make people think "No smoke without fire".

Single entry locking sounds ideal. Would the owner still be able to access that entry? I would think they'd have to be able to to modify or delete it.

Which would bring us to a flag or some thing that prevents changing the privacy level of an entry.

#1 sounds like an excellent idea to me. Thanks for making all of this so clear.

In before... oh wait, this is lj_policy. Never mind.

Suspending single entries would avoid the idiotic 10-day suspension I had to endure for "infringing content" rather than deleting an entry with 400+ comments. So I'm all for that.

Otherwise, paid users who have to endure a 10-day suspension after sending in a counter-notification for fair use, should be refunded for the 10-day period they're not able to use this service due to it not having the facilities to block viewing of a single entry, assuming the original complainant doesn't actually take the matter to court (I've never heard of anyone doing so).

Edited at 2008-07-03 09:47 pm (UTC)

Yes, yes, and yes. Wow. You're becoming reasonable, LJ. I am thoroughly surprised and elated.

I also agree with gmth's and flwyd's comments, by the way.

I think option 1 is a good idea, I disagree with option 2. If an account is suspended for offensive content, doesn't it run counter to that suspension to leave the offending material out where everyone can see it?

I think that in #2 when they say

under some circumstances, would preserve the user's journal in a "read only" state.

That the "some circumstances" would be a small number of offending posts in an otherwise compliant journal. If they deemed the whole journal or large chunks of it to have violations, I would assume that they would lock down the whole thing.

I don't know how to handle lj making consistently sensible, well-thought out desicions on policy. It's messing with my whole worldview.

I definitely think that only suspending the offending entry is the best option. Comments made by an account that is removed/hidden/suspended for any reason should always remain.