Livejournal's Russian owners announce new anti-LGBT policy, fandom stages mass exodus

Mitch Wagner writes, "LiveJournal is a venerable online community that predates Facebook and even blogging. It got acquired by a Russian company a few years ago, but some of its American and British users hung on, including sf and fantasy writers and fans. Lately, I know one of my friends was scrambling to leave, but I'd been too busy to look into why."

"Now I know: LiveJournal changed its terms of service to require obeying Russian law, which requires "protecting" minors from discussing "sexual deviancy" -- LGBTQ issues. This is evil. I agree with many political pundits that it's better to coexist with Russia than to go war, even seek common ground where possible. And I agree that much of the current hostility to Russia in Washington, D.C., is cynical politicking by people who are using Russia panic to gain advantage. But this is evil. "

I probably stuck with LJ for too long, because back in the day I paid for a perpetual premium account—unlimited access and no ads: the urge to get one's money's worth out of something you've paid for is hard to resist. But the rot has finally gone too far. This Tuesday Livejournal pushed out a revision to their terms of service that emphasize the service runs under Russian law, and specifically requires compliance with Russian law on minors—which makes any discussion of "sexual deviancy" (aka LGBT issues) illegal or at least a violation of the ToS.

So I'm currently migrating my entire Livejournal presence to Dreamwidth, a service set up by some of LJ's original founders that focuses on providing a Livejournal-like set of services for creative types (and, significantly, is not subject to Russian law because it's not based in Russia).

Random excuses [Charlie Stross/Antipope]

Notable Replies

  1. I hadn't posted there in internet aeons, but I just killed what little presence I had there now.

  2. I got one of those permanent accounts back in 2002 or so. Can't recall the last time I logged in to my account, though. Guess I might just have to do that, so's I can delete the shit out of it.

  3. I don't really ever want to go back to LJ, and for a moment considered letting my account eventually be banned because of my history of entries grappling with my sexuality, bu eh... I guess I'll make a backup.

    Feels like going back into a long abandoned building to fish out your diary long after you stopped keeping diaries.

  4. I can't vouch for this as I found it less than a minute ago, but ljmigrate is available on GitHub. Ljmigrate is a tool for archiving posts from any LiveJournal clone site and optionally migrating them to any other LJ-clone site. Useful for moving from LiveJournal to InsaneJournal, for instance.

    Also an option I very recently found: migrating LJ posts to WordPress

  5. I used to be a member of several youth LGBT and trans groups on LJ. I don't know if they are still there, but they are effectively dead now if they have to comply with Russian law. Vulnerable children don't count if they identify as queer, it seems.

    Also, I helped a 15 year old start transitioning to female on LJ. Ten years later and that's also against TOS.

    Like @enkita, I remember Section 28 in the UK. I experienced the damage it did to young people first hand, when teachers either dismissed homophobic and transphobic bullying or felt that their hands were tied by government if they tied to do anything about it. I am sitll amazed I got though school alive (my regular suicide attempts were well known there). The law was vague enough that teachers didn't know when they were crossing over into promoting LGBT issues. I have a bad reaction to anyone trying to repeat that anywhere.

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