Censored by Yahoo!
by A. Orange

On Monday morning, April 21, 2003, I found that both my email account AgeOrange@yahoo.com (with all of my email) and my web site at http://WWW.Geocities.Com/ageorange/ had disappeared. It had been up there for nearly two years, and was heavily indexed by all of the search engines, especially Yahoo, but it suddenly all just disappeared.

I wrote a letter to Yahoo, asking if their server had been hacked, explaining that my web site and email account were gone. I received the following answer.

Hello,

Thank you for reporting this incident to Yahoo! GeoCities.

We have evaluated that home page and have taken appropriate action
against the account.

We encourage you to review the Yahoo! GeoCities Terms of Service at:

   http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/geoterms.html

Thank you,

Yahoo! GeoCities Team
http://geocities.yahoo.com

That left me feeling a little funny. They arbitrarily destroyed a project in which I had invested two years of work, and they didn't even think that I rated an explanation for their actions. Rather arrogant, don't you think?

In reading the terms of service, I found:

You agree to not use the Service to:

(a) upload, post or otherwise transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

I can only guess that the truth was found to be "defamatory" or "otherwise objectionable" to some people, like the cult religions, the phony gurus, and the quack-medicine recovery hoaxes that I criticize.

Well of course it is.

Criminals and liars don't like the truth, and often object to it very loudly.
True believers in cult religions strongly object to any criticism of their organizations or their leaders.

But is it right to erase anyone who criticizes them?

But what kind of a country will we have if no one can say anything that someone else objects to, even if it is true?
What happens to the open forum?
What happens to the free marketplace of ideas?
What happens to freedom of speech? (I never censored my critics. I printed their letters that criticized me, in full, for all to see.)
What happens to democracy?

What kind of a strange, shallow, styrofoam society will we have if nobody and nothing can ever be "controversial"?

A wise man once said, "The only thing necessary for evil men to rule the world is for good men to do nothing."

And he might have added, "And if the media channels will not permit criticism of the evil-doers because it is 'controversial' and might upset somebody, then that will really give the bad guys a leg up."

Oh well, upwards and onwards. Yahoo isn't the only game in town.

And I might suggest, if you value freedom of speech, "Boycott Yahoo and the companies that advertise on Yahoo."
(And of course write to those advertisers and tell them why you are boycotting them.)

And have a good day anyway.

— "Secret Agent" Orange





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Last updated 2 January 2006.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-censored.html

Copyright © 2019, A. Orange