Days after Twitter announced their censorship plans, Google has followed suit with its own plan of action that will only affect its Bloggerplatform.
This censorship basically means that Blogger users will be automatically redirected to a country-specific URL, so if you wish to view a Blogspot.com site and you live in Spain for example, you will be directed to Blogger.es instead.
You are probably wondering what the point of this move is. The purpose behind it is to be able to censor a blog in one country but leave it untouched in another. In this way, blog content can be censored according to the rules and regulations of individual countries whilst allowing freedom of expression in those countries that allow it. Google’s official position is as quoted:
Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expressionand responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law. By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD. Google’s official position
Over the upcoming weeks, we’ll begin to notice that sites are being redirected and that new countries will gradually be added. Google assures however that blog writers will not notice any visible changes on their page and they are making the necessary adjustments to ensure that SEO will not be affected due to duplicate content on multiple domains.
As with most things though, there is a way around this new move. If the user enters the website they wish to view followed by “ncr”, he/ she will see the page on its original domain. For example, http://www.exampleblogname.blogspot.com/ncr will take you to the US version of the blog. NCR, stands for “No Country Redirect” and this code will work on all operating systems.
What remains to be seen is the effect these changes will have across the globe as censorship is a pretty touchy subject, one that most do not appreciate as they believe it encroaches on basic human rights for freedom of expression regardless of the subject matter.