Just over a week ago, the folks over at Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films launched a broadside at Fox, assailing them for pimping racy "after-hours" content, "frequently in stories condemning precisely such images in the media as morally corrosive." Yesterday, BNF followed that up with an enhanced parodic effort - a new video and a mock website that mimics the candy-coated come-ons frequently found on the sites of online purveyors of pornography. Uhm...or so people tell me.
But a funny thing happened on the way to one of the internet's most popular online fora. The editors at Digg.com banned Brave New Films from posting these new offerings on their site, citing a violation of the rules set down in their Terms of Service that forbid "adult content."
Emails obtained by the Huffington Post document the back and forth exchange that transpired between Brave New Films' Jesse Haff and the editors of Digg. In them, Haff writes:
Within the past few minutes, someone at Digg apparently deleted a Digg submission entitled "FOX News Porn. All porn, all from FOX News. Seriously. (possibly NSFW)" by the user account "bravenewfilms". Clearly someone thought this was an actual porn site -- but it's not it's a PARODY site. It's taking images and video broadcast by the FOX News Network and putting them together on a website designed to LOOK like a porn site, encouraging people to contact FOX News advertisers.
Digg sent a boilerplate response:
That submission had Adult Content included within it and is not allowed on Digg, as per the TOS you agreed to when you signed up. If you agree not to submit material that breaks the TOS again, we will reinstate your account.
In a second email, Haff protested that their "submission" merely "contained content that FOX News had broadcast."
Digg won't allow content that FOX News will air? Seriously? Please double check the web site...and please confirm that Digg doesn't allow content that is broadcast on FOX News. That's all I ask.
To which he received the following reply:
Yes, that submission was Adult content. Yes, it was against our TOS, even though it was broadcast on FOX. Unfortunately the domain will not be unbanned.
For their part, Brave New Films deemed the kerfuffle to be proof of concept: "We thought we were doing parody, but apparently we weren't. According to Digg, FOX News IS porn. No irony necessary." And naturally, they urged people to "Digg [their] story on Digg about Digg blocking [them] from Digg."
But, in seeming to agree with BNF's overall point, was Digg just trying to be agreeable to NewsCorp? As one commenter on the competing "social bookmarking" site Reddit darkly mused, "The last time Digg censored something the users revolted. I don't think Digg will last long under the influence of Fox News, but maybe that's News Corps plan." And, it's true--Digg and NewsCorp have 'sniffed around' each other before. Back in October of 2006, Digg's "acquisition dance" with the multi-tentacled Murdochian beast was well documented.
It seems unnecessary anymore to preface this with the word, "ironically," but...ironically, Digg's ban has only fanned the flames of attention. Brave New Films' parody ended up hitting the #1 spot at the aforementioned Reddit, and Digg users have started rebelling in earnest.