Internet companies will be the death of art

A little more than 200 years ago some far sighted people created a constitution that guaranteed the people freedom of speech and the press. You could say or publish anything, free from government interference.

Of course, that wasn’t really true in the 18th century (it was more aspirational as some politicians might say today), but over time, government restrictions have been chipped away and today, we pretty much live in that state; there is virtually no government interference with free expression in this country.

So having solved that problem, along come the big Internet companies. They are restricting speech right and left. But only concerning nudity. Anything violent or hateful is given full, unrestricted distribution, but a nipple causes apoplexy.

Some might say they are private companies so they can do what they want. I say they are ubiquitous in everyday life, so should be subject to the same rules as government.

This blog and web site have been removed from “safe search” results. Yes, that’s right I no longer exist. Or do I?

On most search engines, my web site simply disappears if the safe search setting is enabled. Google is somewhat different. If you enable safe search there, my website drops from position 2 to about position 20. Apparently, Google believes if the user is willing to look a little deeper, they should be allowed to see less safe things. Scary stuff lurks in the depths of the search results. Me!

Or else they have a bug. I’m becoming more and more convinced that there aren’t any great algorithms in the Internet companies’ repertoires, just a bunch of hacked together and very buggy software. I can’t otherwise explain the mysterious results. Sometimes things work; sometimes they don’t.

For example, California instituted new water conservation rules for plumbing fixtures in January 2019. Showers can only drip once a minute or something like that. Last month I easily found the rules with Google. Today when I looked again, Google could only find the 2016 specifications. Time quake!

Here’s an image to help cement my reputation as a master of things unsafe. Or maybe not, there’s no nipple.

Next post, we’ll look at my recent experience on Instagram. That company has the most confused policy about nudity that I have ever seen.