The stupidest “explicit content” moderation I’ve ever seen personally

While I was writing about an old sci-fi book that probably wasn’t deliberately removed from Google’s search results, the theory I discarded fastest was that “Anarchaos” was flagged as “explicit content” and hidden by Safe Search, and I was reminded of this:

I used to buy the occasional MP3 through Google Play, back in olden times when Google Play actually sold MP3s instead of redirecting you to yet another goddamned streaming service. It was competitively priced, and I’d already bought apps from Google Play, so music purchases weren’t any additional drain on my privacy.

Aside from the needlessly convoluted process of downloading my purchases – if I remember correctly, they were trying to nudge me toward an inferior Google-flavored music app at the time – my strongest memory of the Google Play Music store was from my purchase of Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack for The Mummy, when I noticed the “explicit” tag.

It’s an orchestral score. It has no lyrics. The closest it comes to lyrics is the vocable “aaaaah.” Have a listen if you want to confirm that for yourself.

I don’t remember how hard it was to bypass Google Play Music’s age restrictions, because I was already in my 20s when The Mummy came out and in my 30s when Google Play Music came out, but I was still annoyed.

My theory at the time (and I don’t have a better one now) was that some moderator got bent out of shape about the body-paint scene and decided to tag everything Mummy-related as explicit.

This isn’t the stupidest bit of content moderation I’ve ever heard of – especially if you expand “content moderation” to include copyright enforcement, in which some especially stupid bots have claimed to own the moon, a cat purring, and the numbers 1 and 0 – but it’s the stupidest one I’ve had personal experience with.

Categories: PiecesTags: , ,

1 comment

  1. Featured image from Wikimedia Commons.


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