[closed] Bluehost censor blogs and other content! (22 posts)

  1. poshcoffee
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I had a blog hosted at bluehost.com. The company have removed the site because of the use of 'vulgarity' in the comments on one of the few posts. The comments include people dropping the 'F bomb', but the site was not porn neither was it violent or inappropriate.

    I just spoke to Bluehost and they state to me that "over and above their legal obligations they adhere to their moral obligations."

    A little closer inspection finds that Bluehost are based in Utah, home of the Mormon church, and while the company isn't expressly Mormon it would seem that they adhere to Mormon moral standards and expect all of their customers to do the same.

    I put it to Tom from tech support that the use of vulgarity was commonplace in a contemporary society and that individuals should be entitled to make their own judgments regarding this matter. He re-stated that the company impose a moral standard upon their customers.

    For your amusement and for your awareness of religious moral standards being applied, this is the transcript of my initial web chat with Tom from tech support. It starts after I ask why the blog was removed:

    [10:26]: vulgar comments need to be removed - Ticket #734230
    [10:26]: Vulgar comments?
    [10:27]: Please can you be a LOT more specific.

    Tom [10:27]: Please submit the last 4 digits of your Credit Card for verification purposes and/or the full Cpanel password. We will activate Cpanel only for you to remove all vulgar or profanity in the account.

    [10:27]: No, before I do that I would like you do be VERY VERY specific as to your definition of vulgarity
    [10:28]: and I am stunned that a blog host would seek to censor bloggers in this way.

    Tom [10:28]: That is our policy.

    [10:33]: http://helpdesk.bluehost.com/kb/index.php?x=&mod_id=2&id=111
    [10:34]: OH MY GOD, foul language is prohibited?
    [10:34]: Wait a second....
    [10:34]: I just noticed, you guys appear to be in Utah

    Tom [10:34]: Yes

    [10:35]: Mormans?
    [10:35]: I only conclude this because are you really serious about the profanity thing?
    [10:35]: Freedom of speech isn't important in the United States then I suppose?

    Tom [10:35]: Religion is not a factor, it is our moral.
    [10:35]: That is our policy.

    [10:35]: your moral?
    [10:36]: Okay Tom, what if I post a blog post saying I think President Bush is a "horses ass", you would take my site down?

    Tom [10:36]: That is a policy, you can take it up with our Abuse Department if you want; but botton line is, we do not allow those.
    [10:37]: Yes we would take that site down for doing that.

    [10:37]: Okay, how do I speak to someone at your ab*se department

    [10:37]: You will have to call the Direct Line, they are not available on chat.

    [10:38]: number please Tom

    [10:38]: Outside the U.S: 801-765-9400

    [10:39]: I'll be reporting 6 bluehost sites that I have found via your users forum in the last 3 minutes which use profanity
    [10:39]: can I expect these all to be removed too
    [10:39]: I mean heck, the world might fall into moral decay if we don't get on top of this!

    [10:39]: Yes of course, that's good, we will take action on those too.

    [10:40]: Oh damn, just looking at the bluehost forum I see that you actually link to several abuse ridden sites from your own sites, and they are all hosted by you guys!
    [10:40]: Tom, I am worried for you, moral decay looks like it is running ride there at bluehost!
    [10:40]: I'm about to start praying for you!

    Tom [10:42]: Thank y ou, I'll pray for you too. Thank you for changing your moral views today. Start by saying something good about a person, that is a step towards peace. Have a nice day.

    [10:42]: YIKES!!!!! Tom, it's worse than I thought, there are girls in bikinis on Bluehosted sites!!!!
    [10:42]: This is really awful!

    Tom [10:43]: Ok You can report those to abuse too.
    [10:43]: Thank you


    So there you have it folks, Bluehost will only host your site as long as you don't say anything nasty about anyone or use vulgar language.

    As much as I respect the religious views of anyone, I feel that Bluehost should make their moral code a LOT clearer.

    Needless to say the blog will be moved to a host that doesn't care to impose strict religious morals. California pumps out the majority of the immorality in the world, so I am looking for a host there! :-)

  2. Jeremy Clark
    Posted 8 years ago #

    One more reason to remove bluehost from the Hosting section of wordpress.org.

  3. Adam Brown
    Posted 8 years ago #

    As much as I respect the religious views of anyone,

    Sure doesn't sound like it.

    But regardless, it would make more sense to post this on a blog somewhere than to fill up these forums with it.

  4. As much as I respect the religious views of anyone,

    Sure doesn't sound like it.

    No, I'm with poshcoffee on this one.

    As I often must point out, there's a difference between "respect" and "think that those views are correct, or indeed, sane". I mean, I can understand that somebody has their own religious views. That don't mean that I won't make light of their views or think that they're not crazy.

    But that's all off topic. I've brought up the BlueHost question on the mailing lists. I don't think we should have them listed on the hosting page, as they've been nothing but problematic by all accounts. I've never heard anything good about BlueHost.

  5. Adam Brown
    Posted 8 years ago #

    This runs the risk of perpetuating a pointless side-topic, but...

    "make[ing] light of their views" seems to conflict with "respecting" their views. Otherwise, I'm not sure what "respecting" means. But that's not really the point here, so I'll let it go if you will.

    If BlueHost does get de-listed here, though, it would make more sense to do it for the other reasons that people bring up. This particular complaint is addressed quite clearly in their terms of service (the third bullet, right at the top) that poshcoffee would have needed to agree with before signing up. Thus we learn to read the terms, I guess.

  6. Oh, I'm not saying they don't have the right to do it. I'm just saying that censorship is wrong and against the principles that I would hope WordPress would be for.

    Any host that regulates the content of your site to that degree should not be a recommended host. It's one thing to not allow spam or libel/defamation and such (even WordPress.com does that), but to disallow "foul language" is rather extreme.

  7. Adam Brown
    Posted 8 years ago #

    True enough...

    If the endorsement from w.org stays, maybe it could come with a footnote that the host is suited primarily for folks looking for a family-friendly host or something.

  8. poshcoffee
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Yeah, perhaps they could be cited as a 'family friendly' host.

    I just spoke to bluehost who have no reinstated the blog after we agreed that one particularly abusive comment was removed. However, the company said that sites using language or content that an individual might find offensive, would probably do well to find another host in order to not encounter problems from them acting on moral grounds in a way that effects the sites uptime.

  9. From the Hosting page:

    We're committed to helping create a wholesome and hassle-free WordPress hosting environment. If you feel there are issues with one of the hosts listed here, please send a note to hosting@wordpress.org . If the situation warrants we'll work with you and the hoster on a solution. We also realize that we can’t highlight every good host, but if you have a favorite host you think we should feature here, let us know.

    So, if anybody is experiencing problems with their hosting, they should send the information there.

  10. poshcoffee
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Thanks Otta, I've emailed them.

  11. theapparatus
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Might have something to do with their affiliate program and their $65 a pop for each signup.

  12. poshcoffee
    Posted 8 years ago #

    After a telephone conversation with someone in the abuse department of Bluehost, my blog has been reinstated. We agreed that one particular comment should be deleted and after that, while they do say that profanity is forbidden anywhere on sites hosted by them, they are willing to 'turn a blind eye' in most cases unless an objection is raised.

    I should also point out that they have offered to refund me in full and help me move the blog to a more tolerant host.

    This is a good outcome, but it I still believe it shouldn't have come to this. Bluehost enjoy the freedoms afforded to them by a (relatively) free and open society. For them to impose their religious morality upon others is absurd. I will most likely move the blog from Utahistan shortly.

  13. crazypenguin
    Posted 8 years ago #

    What good is Bluehost's TOS if they pick and choose what is enforced at their every whim? Does that mean Bluehost will turn a 'blind eye' toward copyrighted material as well if it pops up on one of their servers? Such wishy washy tactics negate the reason for having a TOS agreement in the first place.

    ...while they do say that profanity is forbidden anywhere on sites hosted by them, they are willing to 'turn a blind eye' in most cases unless an objection is raised.

    Bluehost TOS!?

  14. BernardBorealis
    Posted 7 years ago #

    From what I have noticed, it seems that Bluehost very carefully watches and removes adult content and pornography. Softer swear words that many people often don't see as swear words such as damn and shit, however, words like f*$#, or swear words used in extreme degradation against certain individuals. The thing about Bluehost is that they aren't strictly "letter of the law." If they were, the world would be a horrible place. They are considerate, and make decisions after careful consideration. This post really shouldn't be here in the first place, and I have multiple friends and myself who host with Bluehost. I can back them up every once of the way.

  15. geofftswin
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Just been reading this, and it looks as if there is an issue.
    If a site breaches the TOS due to comments entered by other users, then surely the first course of action is to flag it up with the site owner giving them time to resolve the issue before removing the site?

  16. charlesgan
    Posted 7 years ago #

    "Obscene, Defamatory, Abusive or Threatening Language
    Use of the Services to store, post, transmit, display or otherwise make available obscene, defamatory, harassing, abusive or threatening language is prohibited."

    bluehost TOS does state it clearly. Unfortunately, hosting company have their own responsibility to the society too.

    [sig moderated - we have our rules, too :)]

  17. whooami
    Posted 7 years ago #

    This post really shouldn't be here in the first place ..

    thats your opinion.

    Since bluehost is a recommended host for WP -- it's nice to know where they stand.

    Saying that a site would be taken down for expressing that GW Bush is a horse's ass.. I'm sorry -- not where I want to be hosted. Ass, by the way, as used in that sentence, isnt a vulgarity.

    Nor is it defamation -- which has a very strict legal definition.

  18. thisisedie
    Posted 7 years ago #

    After reading their TOS and seeing the part about vulgarity, before I purchased hosting through them a few weeks ago, I wrote to ask exactly what it meant. Here's my question:

    I was just reading your terms of service agreement. It says: "Foul language and profanity in the site content, and in the domain name are prohibited." Are we talking ANY swear words... like I couldn't say, "Damn my back hurts" or my account could be suspended? Or is this statement more intended for sites that are ALL about vulgarity?

    And their answer:

    That statement in the TOS is meant for complete vulgarity that is offense to others

    From that I took that your site would have to be offensively vulgar before they took action but I'm gonna be sure to save this email in case anything comes up.

  19. whooami
    Posted 7 years ago #

    That statement in the TOS is meant for complete vulgarity that is offense to others

    and they get to decide whats offensive to others. Which is prima facie okay, as long as educated consent is given before hand to anyone interested in their hosting.

    They have the right to pick and chose what they will host. But you know what, most people dont read the TOS, and they know this. EVERYONE knows that. Not an excuse -- but ...

    Were it me, and I was so, for lack of a better word, concerned about what I was going to allow, I would be actively informing potential customers, instead of passively, putting something in a TOS, that I know theyre not going to read until I've already got their money.

    Its **almost** deceitful.

  20. zeds-head
    Posted 7 years ago #

    I'm telling you I've been really happy with my hosting company (ICDSoft)for eight years and six sites. Forums, blogs, cartoons. I pay $60/year and have never been PO'd. The interface is awesome and their tech support is freakishly good. I'm not advertising, but I do have links on my site, http://www.zeds.head.com that I get a small commission, but to be honest I only have it there because I know how good they are.

  21. billwp
    Posted 7 years ago #

    Let's see ... ignore the TOS. Post potty words. Complain when the TOS is enforced. Whine when it is enforced unevenly.

    Dry those tears, Buck-o.

    It's no just the religionists who object. You won't find that language in a court, a textbook or even the old-timers table at AA (although the newcomers get pretty crude). Try using it at a library, or while having dinner with future in-laws.

    You knew that what you said was wrong and now you are looking for us to back your potty mouth.

    Not happenin' Jack.

  22. thisisedie
    Posted 7 years ago #

    When you say "wrong" billwp, I'm going to assume you meant "in violation of the TOS" correct? Because you wouldn't presume to dictate what language is "right" or "wrong" for anyone but yourself would you?

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