WordPress.com caves to censorship pressure again
WordPress is great blogging software if you are self-hosting, but their dedicated hosting solution at wordpress.com has proved once again to be weak-kneed and prone to collapse at the first whiff of controversy.
The latest episode involves a blog about a deluded cancer quack by the name of Andreas Moritz. The self-described “medical intuitive” was upset when a student by the name of Michael Hawkins put up a critical post on his wordpress.com site. Andreas Moritz is a stupid, dangerous man is still available on an older site, but a complaint by Moritz to WordPress was enough to get the the “For the Sake of Science” site shut down.
There are few more sensitive to criticism than the self-deluded, but Moritz managed to make himself even more contemptible by writing a gloating email to Hawkins
You may blame me for having your blog pulled. WorldPress had to remove your blog because otherwise it would have faced a hefty lawsuit, given the nature of the defamation campaign you had launched against me, and having positioned your blog link second place on the search engines.
Of course, now that he has kicked up a fuss and the story has appeared on both Pharyngula and Respectful Insolence, a Google search for “Andreas Moritz” now throws up highly critical results in second and third placess. It can’t be long before one reaches the top spot.
As PZ Myers points out,
I hate to give hints to kooks, but really, you should study the Streisand effect. Attempts at legal intimidation, threats to silence web sites, and those kinds of nasty shenanigans to squelch bad publicity always backfire on the internet.
The last time WordPress.com caved to pressure from offended kooks was when they pulled some educational cartoons about the life of Mohammed in late 2008.
UPDATE: (Feb 23) The original article is back, and at number 2 in a Google search: Andreas Moritz is a stuped dangerous man. Well done, WordPress.com.