Dear +MG Siegler, Are you seriously upset about your photo removal? (MG's complaint here: I thought I'd offer an alternate opinion here in the public and see what happens. (An opinion that PR from Google+ will probably not take the time to express, because they're busy and have better things to do. I on the other hand, have copious amounts of free time these days. :-) heh)

Every social network has the policy you're decyring, and why shouldn't they? It's a public sphere. If you had a T-shirt that said "I hate White People" (you can imagine another ethnic group to make it more offensive, if you'd like) and you walked into a mall wearing it, the security would probably ask you to leave, or ask you to cover up your shirt. If your T-shirt said "F*ck you" (which more closely parallells your hand gesture, you'd probably get the same treatment.)

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. (As they are also doing with their spam detection and removal algorithms. I don't know what you're seeing, but they catch and hide 95% of the spam comments that appear on my posts.)

In any case, I would respectfully submit that we, the users of Google+ (and Facebook or Twitter) 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 let's that stuff slide, it turns into a cesspool that no one wants to visit... sorta like MySpace was.

It was very difficult @ MySpace to keep up with the "offensive" photos, and we had decent technology and many warm bodies on the case. (In fact, I'd guess the average person would be shocked how much time and resources we had to put into trying to stop that.) Your suggestion that you should get "warned" is too time-consuming. You want someone to check up on you and make sure you complied with the warning? The limited resources Google could use for something like that would be better spent giving human interaction to questions on how to use the service, technical troubles, etc. Things that seem simple are not as soon as you have 10s of millions of users.

I don't think this issue deserves attention really, but seeing as how your post has been so popular (making the top of Techmeme, no less!), I thought I'd see how "popular" (or unpopular) this alternate opinion is. Maybe I'm drastically wrong here... I do think Singapore is a wonderful place, after all. :-) I'm kinda curious if people think I'm way off base here. I'm wondering if your post made the top of Techmeme not because people agree with you, but because people generally like controversy. Or maybe people just like you... even if you are flipping us all off. :-) You are a loveable renegade. :-)

P.S. As +Danny Sullivan and others have pointed out, Google is not just concerned about its "public sphere" on G+ itself, but our profile pictures are used in search results as well:

P.S.S. Pictured: +MG Siegler looking as innocent as my "MySpace Tom" photo. He is clearing not roaming the badlands in this shot!

UPDATE Added after initial post: +Jeff Jarvis and +Mike Elgan have written some interesting counterpoints that disagree with my post:


So has +Rob Beschizza:
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