November 6th, 2008

MySpace speaks up for equality

I received a pleasantly surprising message from MySpace's ubiquitous Tom founder-guy today (a mass message, I mean, for which I happened to be one of many recipients -- he and I don't exactly keep in touch regularly).

Although he doesn't come right out and say it (see below), I know exactly what he's referring to as "various political propositions that spoke in direct conflict to [equality and diversity]," because I saw the occasional "Yes on Prop 8" ad pop up on MySpace recently. After all, if there was any "political proposition" dealing with equality/diversity this election season, Prop 8 (and anything else like it in other states) surely was it. I was annoyed/disheartened to see those ads running on MySpace, but I figured they must have some policy about accepting ads supporting all sides.

And, I have to say, it's relieving and inspiring to see a non-political organization take a stand like this, and call Prop 8 out for what it was: not an issue with debatable merits depending on your sociopolitical/ideological bent, but rather, a 100% wrong, blatant attack on equality and basic rights. I get so weary of public figures and organizations struggling so hard to appear "centrist," "non-partisan," "non-biased," or other variants of self-righteous non-substantive hackery. Sometimes you just have to take a stand for what's right.

Apparently, MySpace is enlightened enough to realize that "No on Prop 8" would ultimately hurt nobody (save for bruising a bunch of fundamentalist-right-wing egos), whereas "Yes on Prop 8" would hurt a lot of people, including many MySpace members. So you could say MySpace is simply pandering to its diverse and largely youthful member base, but either way, they're risking some backlash by taking this stand.

Way to go, MySpace/Tom. Here is Tom's message:


Subject: Offended by Ads on MySpace?

MySpace supports equality. I personally have always welcomed diversity as part of the very fabric of the MySpace community. Over the last few days, ads related to various political propositions that spoke in direct conflict to that ran on our site. These ads came through a third party ad network and we worked to immediately remove them. Like most websites, we do not always have a direct relationship with advertisers that use the ad network, so it was difficult to get them removed. As we fought to remove one advertiser, another would pop up immediately after. I'd like to apologize to anyone who was offended by these advertisement and you have my commitment that we will continue to work to prevent similar happenings in the future. MySpace is for everyone, and we do not want to offend our users by running ads that make them feel uncomfortable.