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Bluehost censor blogs and other content!

  • 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! 🙂

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • Jeremy Clark

    @jeremyclark13

    Member

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

    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.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    @otto42

    WordPress.org Tech Dude

    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.

    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.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    @otto42

    WordPress.org Tech Dude

    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.

    True enough…

    If the endorsement from wp.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.

    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.

    Moderator Samuel Wood (Otto)

    @otto42

    WordPress.org Tech Dude

    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.

    Thanks Otta, I’ve emailed them.

    theapparatus

    @theapparatus

    Member

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

    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.

    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!?

    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.

    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?

    http://www.bluehost.com/terms_of_service.html
    “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.

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

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
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