A number of anti-Obama blogs hosted by google's blogspot were shut down, with notices saying, "This blog has been locked due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations. You may not publish new posts until your blog is reviewed and unlocked.”
The past few days there have been rumblings of problems voiced by anti-Obama bloggers, such as the coalition of Hillary Clinton supporters listed on the site Just Say No Deal and NObama. Their blogspot accounts are owned by Google.
When the link at the bottom of the message was clicked, bloggers having this problem were given another message, saying the blog “has characteristics of a spam blog” and, because of this, it had been locked.
Blogger has a little icon on the top of the screen that says "flag blog" and no one is really sure how many times someone has to flag it as spam before blogger automatically shuts the blog down until the owner of the blog sends an "unlock" request and then they are informed it could take days to fix the problem.
Bloggers started speculating that this was the work of Obama supporters deliberately flagging their blogs to get them shut down.
After bloggasm reported this problem last night, a flurry of posts started going up about this because of the similarities of the blogs that were being shut down.
Blogs like, Blue Lyon, which has been active for three years on blogger, and other pro-Hillary, Anti-Obama blogs that were part of the Just Say No Deal coalition and listed on their website.
As the bloggers started giving interviews and speaking to each other, most realized that a number of them had all been having the same problem and what they had believed was a fluke soon gave them reason to become suspicious and start asking questions about the specific blogs this was happening to.
After quite a bit of buzz with bloggers and media starting to pay attention to the story, all of a sudden Blue Lyon's blog was "unlocked" with a note from blogger which said:
On behalf of the Blogger Team, I want to apologize for the recent trouble you've had with your locked blog. Automated spam detection is not yet a perfect science, and although we are constantly working to improve our tools, it appears that our filters have caused some Blogger accounts to mistakenly be blocked from creating new posts.
While we are still investigating, we believe this may have been caused by mass spam e-mails mentioning the "Just Say No Deal" network of blogs, which in turn caused our system to classify the blog addresses mentioned in the e-mails as spam.
Regardless, we have restored posting rights to your blog, and it is very important to us that Blogger remain a tool for political debate and free expression.
So once again, we apologize for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience as we looked into the problem.
The Blogger Team
Many of the bloggers have moved their blogs to a new permanent home over on Wordpress which offers free blogs and no one has been able to provide any conclusive evidence that blogger, google or Obama supporters had anything to do with the anti-Obama blogs being locked, yet the suspicions remain as does the anger as one blogger, Carissa Snedeker who owns Blue Lyon says, "What frustrated me was that Blogger didn’t give us the benefit of the doubt. It would have taken a human five seconds to figure out we are not spam."
Snedeker has also moved her blog over to Wordpress.
Whether the specific blogs that it happened to was a coincidence, deliberate malice or simply a kink in google blogspot's spam filtering software, there was obviously a problem that blogger is trying to deal with and one would hope that they would be looking at ways to see to it that this does not happen again.
H/T Stop the ACLU.