Portuguese blog taken down by Google for unknown reasons
This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Google schaltet aus unerklärlichen Gründen portugiesischen Blog ab
On 14 November 2012, the blog of the group Precários Inflexíveis, whose purpose is to expose the working conditions of freelance workers without permanent contracts, was deleted by Google, during the day of the general strike in the country.
Those who tried to find information about the protest and actions of the group, were greeted with the message “This blog is in violation of Blogger's Terms of Service and is open to authors only”. The group wrote on their Facebook page that the takedown was probably the result of the accusations of defamation directed to Google by the company BF Group which reacted to the testimony of a worker accusing the company of “illegal work and tax evasion”.
According to James Gillot of Precarious Inflexible, the group received an email from representatives of the BF Group where it was told there was defamatory content on its blog and the company would incur legal action against the movement if it did not withdraw the respective content. Further on, Google notified Precarious Inflexible of the possible cancellation of its blog on Google’s Blogger service, due to the complaint made by the BF group. The group considered it had nothing to modify and was surprised to find their blog cancelled on 14 November. "Blogger is a platform that promotes freedom of expression and our policies serve this purpose. Whenever some content is flagged by users, we analyse this blog and proceed in accordance with our policies. We believe this is the best solution to provide a safe online experience for users of all ages and be a platform for creativity and freedom of personal expression that have characterized Blogger and its users," reads the statement sent to Portugal online news website Publico by Rui Carvalho from Google, who also stated the company did not make comments on individual cases. Google’s new terms of service are now covering country-specific takedowns of content on Blogger.
Precários Inflexíveis has been previously brought to court by Ambition Marketing International, a company that argued the comments made to a testimony published on the blog of Precarious Inflexible on 10 May 2011, hindered the recruitment of new professionals and questioned its image. The company required the removal of the comments from the page, which was granted by the court in May 2012. The sentence was however revoked by the Appeal Court on 18 September 2012 which decided that the company did not bring enough proof that its image and prestige had been affected, nor that there had been a decrease in the number of hires. Google Blogger did not delete the webpage during that lawsuit, even after the first court order.
Although Precários Inflexíveis won that case, the group believes this was a bad precedent that encouraged other companies to attack it.
The Portuguese group stated it would continue to pressure Google to restore its blog, and it will continue to do its job to expose precarious working conditions.
Portugal: Activist blog silenced by Google (16.11.2012)
Precarios Infelxiveis Facebook Page
Blog of Precarios Inflexiveis blocked since Wednesday (only in
The Court annuls the decision to hide comments to blog Precarios
Inflexiveis (only in Portuguese, 6.11.2012)