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Google and restriction on advertising

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by hornet, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. This thread is not to discuss abortion.

    But Google has refused to carry a link to an anti-abortion pressure group BECAUSE it is a Christian group. The group is claiming that is is discriminatory of Google to refuse to carry the advertisement purely on the basis of the group's Christian character.

    We're used to crying foul over discrimination here; what's your opinion? Is someone's opinion on a subject invalid because of his or her religious persuasions?

    Read the article, carefully, please, here http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23517828-5014108,00.html

  2. I LOL'd. Seriously, how far away are we from all religions being a quaint piece of our past that we look back upon with some level of embarrassment. Sigh.

    I do however see where the Christian group is coming from. They have a view and they want to be heard dammit. The problem is that they think they are right. The only difference (to me) between a Christian group and a neo-pagan group, is that the Christians likely have the money to make themselves heard. In the case of something like the Catholic institution, they can make themselves VERY heard. It would make a McDonalds ad campaign pale in comparison if they so chose. All well and good, but like the first quote, are their views factual? Not every bloody religion can be factual, and I really do think it is up to Google whether the top 5 ads returned are based on fairy tales or not, especially when the subject of those ads is something with potentially damaging consequences.

    What about religious anti-contraception ads running alongside taxpayer funded safe-sex campaigns? Not trying to bring debate on actual issues into this, but there are many parallels that can be drawn to take the contentious issue of abortion out of it, which I think will split people's views each way regardless of the topic being about Googles policies on mixing religion with certain subjects.
  3. If google are going to censor one religion, they should censor them all equally. That'd be nigh impossible for search results, but advertisements
    are a different kettle of fish.
  4. Oh? Seen a lot of Muslim, wiccan, Scientologist or vedic ads on Google lately? I'm pretty sure Google *do* treat all religions equally. And as was pointed out, Christianity *is* in some ways a special case in our countries because it is the dominant religion with all the wealth and power that conveys.

    I'm a church-going Christian myself, but I still worry about ads like these that are not explicitly religious but portray themselves as 'just the facts'. The fact that to the believers who write the ads these things are factual does not make them factual in any objective sense.

    Meh, but we've given them enough extra free publicity already.
  5. Heh, and I assume that 'Mike Judge of the Christian Institute' is not the same person as 'Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead'. ;)
  6. ...and going straight to the 'nuclear option' of 'you have insulted every single follower of my religion':

    ...is just a step away from jihadis, and does your case no good at all.
  7. I think Google are wrong for discriminating against anyones dollar. Hell for a cool Million my business would gladly proclaim a new Messiah, profit or that Michael Jackson is a great option for child care.

    Google might object to the claims of the bible being the source of all knowledge, when clearly Google's search engine is! Well that and p0rn :)
  8. Bah...eradicating religion is just one of the aims of Skynet's...ahem...I mean Google's rise to world domination
  9. As Christian anti abortion groups in the US have been complicit in the murder of Doctors that perform them, I'm not surprised that google have decided not to play...

    As far as I'm concerned if someone believes in something as patently absurd as "God", then their views on other matters whilst not invalid will have to carry less weight with me.
  10. I'm fairly sure that discriminating on the basis of religious beliefs is still against the law!

    I'm surprised that Google are running this line to be honest :shock:

    I'm not personally anti-abortion, but Google are I suspect opening a can of worms here.

    Google is the largest busiest search engine on the net and it could be argued that they have certain 'effective monopoly' provisions they need to meet with regards to free and equal access as well...
  11. It's only discrimination if they allow other religions to advertise.

    Besides Google is designed to offer a service, and most people searching for the term "abortion" would most likely either be looking for clinics or chasing factual information on the procedure. I doubt many would be interested in the views of a biased Christian organisation (no matter how much that organisation might want everyone to be interested in their opinion).
  12. It's only the ads that google doesn't support from any religious group.
    the other stuff appears in the search anyways.
    I have ad blockers anyways so block out all those annoying ads.
  13. smee's right, and I like the OP's "read carefully" that half of us did :p

    The Christian Group want their views to be displayed as priority to people looking for information on abortion.
    The Ads are usually for related products sold, that sort of thing.

    Particularly on such a hot topic, I'm not surprised that Google would not want to risk giving the impression that the Christian view of abortion/anything is promoted by Google via paid endorsement.

    If they were filtering search results differently, I'd call bullshit; but to limit paid ads to information and services rather than religious/political views is probably sensible.

    I am of course ignoring Christian run/funded support services for people during unwanted pregnancy... I guess we don't know the content that the Christian Institute want their paid url to link to.
  14. no doubt google chose this position in an attempt to avoid this very situation.

    some minority group banging cans together, kicking up a fuss in order to get attention. another case of "oh look a massive company - lets sue them"
  15. FWIW, I've had a look at the group's website in question out of interest, and they don't seem to be advocating fire and brimestone and eternal damnation for people that have an abortion. The site actually seems remarkably religious slant free. Whilst obviously biased towards anti abortion, they aren't quite the religious wack job group that you'd assume they'd be by Google refusing their ad. See for yourself:

    Their site:


    One of their articles:

  16. It's going to be difficult to ignore the subject of the advertising, but the principle questions whether source be the deciding factor.

    In the end it is a decision based upon which values you choose to put at the highest level of your decision making. If they decide that free speech (with limits based upon commonly agreed boundaries) is the greater good, then they have no choice but to accept at least some material from pretty much any source.

    Alternatively maximum monetary return may be the highest value, or (theoretically) maximum safety to the community, compliance with the law, truth (whatever that may be) etc. etc.

    If it's freedom of speech, then the boundary is where the argument is going to be. Google can quite easily and justifiably run a different policy for it's advertising and business activity than for it's search services.

    But it also needs to comply with commonly agreed standards (ie. the law, and the general acceptance of it's users). Would it, for example, accept advertising revenue from Al Qaida? Not in a million years (that's not a comparison BTW, just an extreme example of a boundary in action).

    My personal view is that issues - even highly emotive ones - are best dealt with by being debated hard in the public arena. Better to hear an opinion that you don't like, than have it suppressed for your supposed benefit.

    The boundary for me would be such that so long as the ad didn't break the law, defame individuals or cause quantifiable harm (possibly including serious offense and distress), then publish and be damned (sic).
    Let 'em have their say, if it can be done in a decent manner.

    In the end, they (Google) will set their own criteria.
  17. That's an 'interesting' interpretation of the law... but I suspect that a good case could be made that Google are discriminating against 'religion as a whole'.

    Simply because they aren't putting one religion above another doesn't mean it isn't discrimination.
  18. Subject to the laws of whatever jurisdcition(s) apply, and with review by the courts I would expect :)
  19. But then google would have to decide who's a religious nutjob and who's just your run of the mill delusional-but-well-meaning religious nutjob. And that's where the discrimination would start.
  20. Wouldn't it just be a case of it's their business, so they dont have to accept offers for advertisements for anything if they dont want to? :?