Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Sen. Joe Lieberman: Google's Blogger needs 'terrorist' button

Saying that alleged pipe-bomber Jose Pimentel used a Blogger-based blog to spread hate-filled screeds and links to bomb-making instructions, Lieberman sends letter to Google CEO Larry Page expressing opinion that Blogger should feature a content-flagging button like YouTube's.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
Expertise Wordsmithery. Credentials
  • Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
Edward Moyer
2 min read
An icon used by YouTube to publicize its content-flagging button. Several years back, Lieberman pressured YouTube owner Google over what he said was terror-related content on the video site. Now he's concerned about the Google-owned blogging platform Blogger.

Joseph Lieberman, the independent senator from Connecticut, sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page this week expressing his opinion that Google-owned blogging platform Blogger should provide a button that would let readers of Blogger-powered blogs flag "terrorist content," according to a report.

In the letter, Lieberman says that alleged pipe-bomber Jose Pimentel, who was arrested by the New York Police Department last weekend, used a Blogger-based blog to spread hate-filled screeds and links to bomb-making instructions.

(As of this writing, the blog referenced by Lieberman, trueislam1.com, appears to have been taken down.)

"As demonstrated by this recent case, Google's webhosting site, Blogger, is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content," reads the reported Lieberman letter, which was posted online by blog TPM.

The letter continues:

"In September 2008, in response to a previous request that YouTube not allow terrorist content on its servers, Google changed its YouTube Community Guidelines to expressly ban terrorist content. In November 2010, Google introduced a 'flag' button for terrorist content on YouTube. I continue to appreciate and commend these important first steps, but I am disappointed that Google has not developed a consistent standard throughout its many platforms. Unlike YouTube's Community Standards, Blogger's Content Policy does not expressly ban terrorist content nor does it provide a 'flag' feature for such content."

Related stories
Senator targets YouTube, but law not on his side
So now Eric Schmidt is an al-Qaida fellow traveler?

In May 2008, Lieberman, currently chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, sent a letter to Google's then-CEO, Eric Schmidt, that suggested the tech giant wasn't doing enough to remove YouTube videos that were violent or could be used by terrorist groups to enlist followers.

Among other things, YouTube's Community Guidelines currently prohibit hate speech, inciting others to commit violent acts, and videos showing bomb making.

TPM said a Google representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Lieberman's Blogger letter.

Here's a short-course in flagging that appears on YouTube's Community Guidelines page: