Disappearing Content: You Cannot Search for It if It Is Not There

November 25, 2014

The issue of shaped and filtered content is becoming more and more of a mainstream topic. I read “Uber Removed Blog Post from Data Science Team That Examined Link between Prostitution and Rides.” The world’s oldest profession meets the world’s newest ride service. I noted this passage in the write up:

“The company examined its rider data, sorting it for anyone who took an Uber between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a Friday or Saturday night. Then it looked at how many of those same people took another ride about four to six hours later – from at or near the previous nights’ drop-off point. Yes, Uber can and does track one-night stands. Consider it the Uber equivalent of the walk of shame.”

How will this corporate approach to content play out? My hunch is that content has been getting removed for a long time. I recall looking for information about the Spyglass browser decades ago and finding a 404 error.

At least today there are copies of the Web, caches on public systems, and people who store content on their drives. Nevertheless, most people cannot search for content that is not “there.” Has anyone looked for CMS information about the original MIC, RAC, and ZPIC contractors? My hunch is that more attention should be paid to content that goes missing, not because of its prurient nature, but because the disappearance of content provides very useful information about the behavior of people, systems, and organizations.

Stephen E Arnold, November 25, 2014


One Response to “Disappearing Content: You Cannot Search for It if It Is Not There”

  1. Mike on November 25th, 2014 11:27 am

    Drugs, prostitution are all now enabled and deliver by Uber cars.
    Such comment removal is very much like Orwell 1984 madness.

    This tax-evading mega-corproation “Heil Uber!’ is out of countrol.

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