Techcrunch’s MG Siegler has got into something of a spat with Google over his Google+ profile picture. The gist of the story is that Siegler’s profile picture was allegedly blocked by Google+ because, in it, Siegler was giving the middle finger.
You can see the ‘offending’ picture on Siegler’s blog, along with his account of what happened. As he (rightly, in my opinion) points out, Google is entering a hornet’s nest here if the company is really going to start policing any gesture or message that could be considered offensive by anyone else.
I mean, frankly, I personally find the new self-censored version of Siegler’s profile picture far more offensive than any flash of a middle digit. However, some people disagree and think Google+ was right to take a stand – including, it seems, Myspace’s Tom Anderson, who posted his own thoughts on the whole fuss.
I think we have to accept that some people are always going to be offended. And you know what? That’s fine! It’s not a problem to be offended, and you can’t build a social network (or anything else) around the principle that you’re going to try to avoid having anything offensive appearing. For Google+, entering the difficult post-honeymoon phase, this might be some badly-timed PR to say the least.