Thursday, July 29, 2010

Violet Blue's "Ourporn" Group Censored by Antis

Violet Blue's pro-porn Facebook group, "Our Porn, Ourselves" was hit by censors the other day. This was a page that contained no pornography or adult material, but simply was a political campaign against the censorship of pornography and stigmatization of porn viewers. The group has for the last several months been getting false flags for non-sexual photos on the group, and yesterday was taken down completely by Facebook.

As you can guess, it appears the usual suspects in the anti-porn movement were behind this. PornHarms has been crowing about it in their own Facebook group and on their Twitter feed. PornHarms claims the page was "inappropriate" and should not be allowed on any site that could be seen by children. This merely because it advocates a pro-porn political opinion. And in spite of the fact that anti-porn sites are often quite graphic about what they oppose. Once again, these people have proven that to be anti-porn is to be pro-censorship, and for the suppression not just of pornography, but of political speech on sexuality and sexual expression.

There is a good chance Porn Harms or somebody close to them is behind the false flagging campaign. At the very least, they are openly treating this act of censorship as a victory for their side.

Who is this "PornHarms"? Its main site, is registered to Patrick Trueman, a right-wing anti-porn crusader with some long history. He was once chief obscenity prosecutor in the Bush I administration. Since then, he has been active with religious right groups like the Family Research Council and Alliance Defense Fund, tirelessly campaigning for increased obscenity prosecutions. This met with some success during the Bush II years. He has been quite visible recently campaigning alongside other anti-porn activists to have the Obama administration renew these prosecutions. Notably, feminist anti-porngraphy campaigners like Gail Dines, who claim to be against censorship, have joined him in this call.

Porn Harms maintains a considerable presence in social networking sites, including YouTube. It appears that these sites are maintained and designed by the same person who runs AntiPornographyBlog. Although this person has generally maintained a behind-the-scenes presence on the net, mainly acting as a clearinghouse for anti-porn information and a place for activists to network, I think that given their rhetoric toward, and possible involvement with, the false flagging of the Ourporn Facebook group, they have some explaining to do.

Even though this did not take place on YouTube, I think that this should be taken as seriously as any act of false flagging here. I say, treat PornHarms as you would any other YouTuber who was openly reveling in the flagging down of another channel. Let them know how you feel about this in their channel comments. If you're on Facebook, let them know about it there, too. Let's also call out AntiPornography Blog for this, since they have a close connection to Porn Harms. Ask them how their alliance with a group that flags down political speech and calls for increased obscenity prosecutions squares with their claims to be "anti-censorship and anti-banning".

These people, whoever they are, need to be held accountable for their actions and the censorship they are advocating.