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[icon] Google and "Yes on 8" - Patti
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Subject:Google and "Yes on 8"
Time:03:41 pm
As many of us know, the Yes on 8 campaign did a full-on Google advertising assault in the last few days before the election. It was impossible to go to any number of sites without getting all-8-all-the-time in the Google ads.

Some sites attempted to block them, but my understanding is that it can take 24-48 hours for an ad block to go into effect, which made that strategy essentially ineffective. Other sites pulled their Google ads for a few days, so that they wouldn't wind up showing the offensive ads on their site. I know that Joe Decker did this with his polyamory site.

I've seen a lot of outrage among my friends and acquaintances over this-- they were angry at the site (for example, Tribe.net) for accepting those ads, and angry at Google for taking money from Yes on 8. While I understand their anger, particularly at the brutal assault of bigotry that we got over the last few days, I believe that their anger is misguided.

The question comes down to this: should Google be in the business of choosing to run only some political ads, or should they give everyone an equal voice in their advertising? While I feel very strongly about equality and rights, I also feel very strongly that everyone should have a voice and equal access to media. I believe that Google did the right thing by running those ads.

Not accepting those ads would set a bad precedent. Do you really want Google to be in the business of choosing which political ads you should see? Would you like it if your local newspaper, radio station, or television station was only willing to run ads for one side? What if they only ran ads for the side you disagreed with? How and where should Google draw the line?

Free speech and giving everyone the chance to be heard is one of the highest principles of our country. It's very easy to defend speech that you agree with. It's much harder to say, "I think that what you are saying is vile, but I will fight for you right to say it."

To be clear, I have no beef with the sites who chose not to accept those (or any) ads from Google during that timeframe. However, AdSense is reasonably close to being a common carrier, and I would rather have them accept all campaign-related ads than to choose for me which messages I get to hear.

The real anger should be directed at the people who funded and placed those ads, I think. Or perhaps at the process that allows our constitution to be amended with a 50.1% vote.
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(Deleted comment)

whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 12:22 am (UTC)
I completely see the Terms of Service argument. However, I really think that once it comes to an election, the moral high road for Google is to accept ads from all sides.
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loser_variable
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 02:30 am (UTC)
Other than blocking broad categories (e.g. political ads) they should take them all, of course. Are the "Yes on 8" ads so very dangerous that none may safely view them for fear of programming? I like to think I can decide all by my own self.

Banning books, movies, et. is the province of the church, and I consider them retards for it.

When Google blocked pro-life ads, that was every bit as retarded.

Stick to search results. I'll handle the opinion forming myself, thanks.
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prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 12:25 am (UTC)
I think there should be some provisions for the site to enforce some kind of broad content control. For example, only allow adds related to the site, or disallow broad categories of ads, like political ads.
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prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 12:25 am (UTC)
By site here, I mean the site displaying the ads, not Google.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 12:39 am (UTC)
Agree. This does point out the need for better tools for AdSense.
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(Deleted comment)

abostick59
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 04:03 am (UTC)
Indeed. I find myself wondering right now whether Google's decision to make a large, puublicized donation to the No on 8 people was in part motivated by the big Yes on 8 AdWords buy.
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crayonbeam
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 04:15 am (UTC)
I asked KFOG why they were running yes on 8 ads and they said federal law required them to accept all ads on an issue if they accepted one side. I'd rather have not heard no on 8 ads just so I didn't have to hear yes on 8 ads.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 04:43 am (UTC)
I just wish the No on 8 ads hadn't sucked so much.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 05:16 am (UTC)
Yep, saw that earlier. Ya gotta be fast on the draw to get queer news to someone in San Francisco. :-)
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 05:17 am (UTC)
BTW, I think the challenge has about a 20% chance of success.
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(Deleted comment)

whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 06:02 am (UTC)
If I understand correctly, broadcast media must accept ads for both sides or neither side of a campaign-- they can't air just one side.

I don't know if the law is the same for print media, but it might be.

Clearly the laws have not yet addressed the online world.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


sabyl
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 06:22 am (UTC)

The real anger should be directed at the people who funded and placed those ads, I think. Or perhaps at the process that allows our constitution to be amended with a 50.1% vote.


This - I think amending the constitution is serious enough that it should take a super majority to change it. That's my opinion and I am sticking to it.
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ruth_lawrence
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-11-06 06:35 am (UTC)
Free speech is very often bought speech, and it isn't a level playing feild :-(
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[icon] Google and "Yes on 8" - Patti
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