Suspended LiveJournal Blogs Return

LiveJournal has decided to restore access to some of the 500 Web logs it had suspended as part of an effort to crack down on pedophilia and to "protect children."

"Well, we really screwed this one up," SixApart chairman and CEO Barak Berkowitz wrote in the company Web log Thursday. "For reasons we are still trying to figure out what was supposed to be a well-planned attempt to clean up a few journals that were violating LiveJournal's policies that protect minors turned into a total mess."

SixApart, which owns LiveJournal, had undertaken an effort Wednesday to remove questionable material. However, the company ended up suspending people for easily corrected problems that would have been solved by notification to the owners, and there was no review process to check for errors.

The resulting fallout shook the LiveJournal community to its core. Users complained that any reference to children in the blogs triggered a suspension, with some of the Web logs having nothing whatsoever to do with pedophilia.

LiveJournal initially defended itself by saying allowing "illegal activity" on its blogs could put the company at "considerable legal risk." However, some pointed out that the company could use that same stance to delete blogs on topics like gay marriage, which is illegal in most states.

Berkowitz seemed to step back from those claims in his blog post Thursday. While sticking to his guns about removing references to topics that put children at risk, he did agree that the mass suspension went a bit too far.

Most profiles have been restored as of Noon PDT Thursday, however, some will need to clarify support for illegal activities or answer questions from moderators. Additionally, those who fail to respond within a week could face re-suspension.

"We never intended this policy to cause the removal of journals that were have perfectly valid discussions about literature, law or culture. We never intended the policies to take down journals or communities clearly opposed to illegal activities but clearly we did," Berkowitz said.

"We made a mistake and now we are going to try to fix it."

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