Murdoch's News Corp. Ends Automated Censorship of MySpace

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

In December 2005, MySpace members discovered that mentions and links to content hosted by rival video-swapping site YouTube were disabled. Debate concerning this issue was apparently even stifled on the site's message boards. Regardless, member unrest grew, culminating in a campaign led by 600 MySpace members to boycott and relocate to rival sites such as Friendster, LinkedIn (linkedin.com), Revver, and Facebook. Subsequently, MySpace reenabled the YouTube links and content in late December. However, it appears that MySpace also closed down a blog forum where members were complaining about this issue.

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MySpace was also apparently banning Revver, another video swapping site, but had relented as of early January. To this, Revver co-founder Oliver Luckett responded, "References to his service were banned because MySpace saw it as competition".

Overall, the blocking of video stored on YouTube and other sites or embedded in user profiles has led to accusations of censorship from MySpace members. Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive denies any this, as well as any connection between recent events and the advent of MySpace's own video-sharing service, stating that blocking links or entire sites are sometimes necessary when MySpace investigates complaints of pornography or racism.

There has been concern among groups of bloggers operating out of MySpace that News Corp would monitor or censor their activities, ever since they purchased Intermix, then MySpace's parent company. Ellis Yu told the Blog Herald that "their CEO said nothing like that would happen. Well, now it has. MySpace was built on an open community and now they're trying to censor us, putting business interests above its members!"


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