theljstaff (theljstaff) wrote in lj_biz,

New Settings & Flagging Tools

In an effort to ensure people under the age of 18 do not see inappropriate content, we added a new functionality to LiveJournal today. Ultimately, this functionality will affect a very small percentage of the millions of LJ users, but we want to be sure everyone has a clear understanding of how it works and why we've implemented this change.

At LiveJournal, we recognize that there is some content that may be fine for adults, but not for kids. We don't want kids seeing content that's not meant for them, and we know you don't either. LiveJournal wants to prevent minors from seeing adult content in a way that does not interfere with the experience of users who are 18 and over. The ability to set entries, journals, and communities as either "Adult Concepts" or "Explicit Adult Content" is a functionality community maintainers and users have been requesting for a long time. As a result, we've created a set of tools that give you control over whether the things you create and share on LJ are accessible to people under the age of 18.

We've outlined the changes in detail below, and also in the FAQs, but in brief:
  • Adults will remain able to see all content on the site unless prevented by the exisiting security settings.
  • The primary goal is to give you the ability to mark your own content so that kids aren't seeing stuff that is meant for adults.
  • You now have the option to flag other people's content that you think is inappropriate for users under the age of 18. However, nothing will happen to that content unless multiple people flag it. Only then will it be sent to the Abuse Prevention Team for review.
  • If your content is flagged by other users, adults will still be able to access it as long as they have the appropriate permissions.
We hope you're happy with our solution and look forward to your comments and feedback. Want to know more? Keep reading...

How Does the Voluntary Adult Setting Work?

You may voluntarily mark any entry you create, your entire journal, or a community you maintain as either "Adult Concepts" or "Explicit Adult Content." These are defined as follows:

Adult Concepts: Content that is not explicitly graphic, but may contain mature themes that could be inappropriate for anyone under the age of 14.

Explicit Adult Content: Content that is graphic and explicit (depicting nudity, sexuality, or violence) that is appropriate only for adults and is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. This label does not imply that the content is considered obscene, just that it is not appropriate for minors. We recommend that a journal or community is set as "Explicit Content" if more than 50% of the total entries have graphic or explicit images or text.

Users under the age of 18 will automatically be blocked from joining communities or seeing content marked as "Explicit Adult Content." However, users who are between the ages of 14 and 17 will be able to join communities marked as "Adult Concepts" and content marked in that manner will be viewable to them. This will alleviate the need for community maintainers to screen every user who joins a community.

If you would like to voluntarily mark your entry, journal, or community as containing adult content, you can do so on the Settings page for your journal, or on the Update/Edit page of any entry. You do not use the flag icon to mark your own content. (In fact, you won't even see it within your own journal.) The flag icons are for reporting content you don't own. Which leads us to the next question....

 How Can I Flag Content I Feel Is Inappropriate?

While we offer users the opportunity to accurately use the adult content settings within their own journals, we are aware that this will not always be the case, which is why we've additionally created the functionality to allow users to flag content they feel is inappropriate. Please note that content visibility will NOT be affected just because someone flags it. Only after the content has been reviewed by the Abuse Prevention Team will a decision be made as to whether or not it warrants an adult content setting.

Users who choose to flag another person's entry, journal, or community will be given five options: "Explicit Adult Content," "Offensive Content," "Hate Speech," "Illegal Activity," or "Nude Images of Minors." If the user flags the content as "Explicit Adult" or "Offensive Content," the content will automatically go into a moderation queue. If and when content has been flagged by several users, it will be sent to the Abuse Prevention Team to determine if an adult content setting is necessary. Both the "Explicit Adult Content" and "Offensive Content" settings will affect filtered search results (see below), but only the "Explicit Adult" setting will result in restricted viewing for those under the age of 18.

Any content flagged as "Hate Speech," "Illegal Activity," or "Nude Images of Minors" will direct the user to the Abuse Reporting System where he/she will be asked to fill out a report including the URL of the content. These instances will be handled in the same manner as always.

How Will This Affect My Search Results?

There are three Safe Search filtering options, which are as follows:

Use Moderate Filtering (default setting): Filters only explicit adult content.
Use Strict Filtering: Filters both adult concepts and explicit adult content.
Do Not Filter Results: All search results will display, including those marked as explicit adult content and adult concepts.

You can change your search settings on the Settings page.


We realize you may have a lot of questions about this new functionality, and we are happy to announce that marta has joined the LJ Team to help out with customer service and community issues. Marta, also known as pheret1, has been an active member of the LiveJournal community since 2002, and comes to us with over a decade of customer service experience. We are incredibly lucky to have her on the team.

If you can't find the answers you're looking for in the FAQ, Marta will be able to answer any questions you leave in the comments, and explain anything you may need clarified about this change. Again, we feel strongly that this functionality is good for LJ and we want to make sure you feel the same way. We think we've done a good job of creating a set of tools that are flexible and fair, but we are listening. If you have any feedback about the new flagging system, we want to hear it. We're always open to suggestions for improvements. Just let us know what you think in the comments.

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