The Net moves fast and LiveJournal has now posted an apology for taking down a broad swath of its journals because their content violated its policies. The explanation states that journals were “suspended” not deleted. The last paragraph sums up the Catch-22 in which LiveJournal perceives itself to be:
We have always been strong supporters of free speech and at the same time we believe deeply that children deserve special protections as well as the victims of violence and hate. We tried to implement a policy that walk that line and we did it poorly, we are all sorry. One could say that no matter what we did we would either be accused of opposing free speech or endangering children but I am sure we should and could have done this much better. I hope you can forgive us and we can regain your trust.
Not everyone is buying the explanation, and although I still think the basic issues regarding the destruction (or now claimed suspension of access to) property and the TOS have larger implications, I respect the response and admission of poorly planned and/or implemented policy. Businesses that own up to mistakes and then try to correct them rather than hiding behind “it was legal” or “we were within our rights” positions are to be commended. They must of course live up to the apology and rebuild trust with future good acts, but before that failure, giving them some benefit of the doubt about the events may encourage future cooperation between the company and its customers. Hmm here’s a possible good act for LiveJournal: clean up that TOS, especially the part about “LiveJournal also reserves the right, without limitation, to resell any portion of a user’s LiveJournal back to that individual.”
Hat Tip: Boing Boing