A few months ago I added Google AdSense to my site. The various ads you see on here are facilitated through that program. They track page views and clicks, and I earn revenue through them (roughly 75 cents over the last few months).
Although the few pennies I earn per month through this program hardly make it worth it, like most bloggers I am delusional and believe that one day I'll get enough traffic to actually make money from my blog. Therefore it seems to make sense to keep them.
I received this email from Google AdSense yesterday:
During a recent review of your account we found that you are currently
displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program
Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may
exist on other pages of this website or other sites in your network.
HATE/ANTI: Publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with
content advocating against any individual, group, or organization. More
information about this policy can be found in our help center (
REQUESTED ACTION: Please make all necessary changes in the next 72 hours.
If the violations are corrected within the aforementioned time period, ad
serving will not be affected. If changes are not made and/or other policy
violations are encountered during the review process, ad serving will be
disabled to your site.
ACCOUNT STATUS: ACTIVE
Your AdSense account remains active. However, if we continue to find
problems, we may disable your entire account. Therefore, we suggest that
you take the time to review the rest of your network to ensure that all of
your other pages are in compliance with our policies.
Basically, my post titled "Westboro Baptist Church" was found by Google AdSense to contain "content advocating against any individual, group, or organization." The email is not specific about which part of the post they are referring to, but I am assuming it's referring to some of the pictures of members of Westboro Baptist Church members holding signs. Although I did not advocate against anyone in my post, the signs they carry advocate vehemently against multiple groups.
Although I could have removed the pictures and I believe that would have been fine, I wanted to be on the safe side. Additionally I wasn't 100% sure that it was the pictures that caused the problem.
It was frustrating to receive an email giving me an ultimatum to remove something I had created. I do not believe I was advocating against any group, though I certainly depicted a group that advocated against many groups. I don't feel that I was even advocating against the people of Westboro Baptist Church (though I clearly disagree with their beliefs, actions, and words) but perhaps that's how Google AdSense saw it.
But in the big scheme of things I am not upset. It's house rules. If I were to allow someone else to host a party at my house, which included the posting of signs, posters, and photos, I would have certain rules about what could be posted. If someone posts something I disagree with I would ask them to remove it, and would expect them to do so without too much complaint. After all, it is my house.
It is important to differentiate between government censorship and other censorship. There is a difference between telling me I can't say something, and saying, "You are not allowed to continue using our service as a means of communication if you continue to say what you are saying." In other words, I completely support Google's right to make this request, though I wish they would reconsider their position on my Westboro Baptist Post.
If you have any interest in seeing the post that I removed, please email me or leave a comment on here and I will send it to you.