Saturday 15 May 2021

My First (No Longer) Deleted Post

(Update: My post was reinstated - see the update at the end of this missive)

This week I experienced a first on Blogger - one of my posts was deleted. Out of the blue I received an email that my post had been flagged for breaching a content policy (Malware and Viruses) and deleted. 

Just like that, the post was gone. Of course on the internet nothing is ever gone that quickly, if ever! There are various sites out there that scrape the contents of blogs and host it themselves, and I cross post most of my content to Medium, but it's gone from my blog.

The post itself was about my first steps into using Substack - could it be that Blogger were worried about their users following me, Pied Piper style, over to an upstart competitor? This seems highly unlikely given the scale of Blogger - even if everyone that has ever read my blog decided to switch on the basis of one post, I'm fairly sure it wouldn't move the needle in any way that would be visible without a microscope.

What's highly likely is that there are automated tools involved that have picked up a false positive. 

Why do I think it's a false positive? Because as I mentioned above, the same post is hosted elsewhere and I've been through it with a fine-tooth comb, and all I can find is links to news sites or some of my pages that host Salesforce tools and content. Nothing that jumps out as a problem, and in every case the reader has to click a link to navigate to the content. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not crying about this - I don't pay to use Blogger so they can do what they like with their own platform. I'd really like to know some more details of what is wrong so that I don't do it again, but if they can't or don't want to tell me then there's not a lot I can do. I've been on here 10 years and this is the first incident of this nature, so it's hardly a vendetta.

The upside to this is that it made me realise that I haven't backed up my blog for a while, so I've taken care of that. If the balloon does go up and my blog suddenly disappears, at least I haven't lost all the ramblings I've spent years crafting!

Back up your work people, wherever it may be!

Update: I replied to the email from Blogger about my post being deleted, explaining that I'd checked the content and didn't know which part was causing the issue, and asking for more information so I could avoid the same problem in the future. 6 hours or so later I received another email telling me that it had been looked at again and reinstated. I might not be so lucky next time, so I'll be backing up regularly!

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