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Author Topic: Internet = 80% porn
snopes
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Comment: During a media class lecture recently, I learned the statistic
stating that 80% of websites on the Internet are pornography was not only
untrue, but it was primarily responsible for the passing of the
Telecommunication Act of 1996.

The story that was given to me by my professor is that an ambitious
reporter for Time magazine pumped up a story claiming the internet was, in
fact, made up of 80% porn. The story made the cover of Time.

I learned that later a congressman held up the issue of Time in the House
of Reps. and said, more or less, 'Something must be done about this.'

The Internet Decency Act of 1996 was drafted (what that consists of, I
don't know) and attached to it was the Telecommunication Act. The
Telecommunication Act was drafted to allow large media companies to merge,
crossing mediums, etc. The act basically allowed for what we have today--a
national media run by a few hyper-conglomerates.

The story by the young reporter, I learned, was proven to be untrue. The
Internet was/is not 80% porn--it's not even close. The reporter was fired
yet, the Telecommunication Act of 1996 (an act seemingly unrelated to the
amount of pornography on the Internet) still stands.

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Pseudo_Croat
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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So, what % of the 'Net really is porn? Has a scientific survey of this ever been done?

- Pseudo "porn flakes" Croat

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"At all events, people who deny the influence of smaller nations should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throats." - Norman Davies, Europe: A History

God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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First you'd have to define the terms - 80% of "sites"? 80% of urls? 80% of search-engine hits? 80% of html pages? 80% of files available to download? 80% of actual stored information in bytes?

I guess the definition of porn would be easy as any arguable cases would probably be negligible compared to things that were unambiguously porn or not-porn.

Search engine hits would be the easiest to measure, as you can get a simple number of hits from google for various terms. But it's not obvious how you'd sample...

One way might be to pick words at random from a dictionary, carry out a search, and find the percentage of sites that were porn in each hit. But you'd have to look at each hit separately, and most porn sites probably come up on just a handful of possible words so the results would vary hugely depending on which words were in your random sample.

I guess an easier way would be to compare the average number of pages listed in specialist porn search engines with the number catalogued in google. I'm not going to try to do that at work! Google claims to search 4,285,199,774 web pages at the moment.

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Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Well if that act was made in '96 then I can assure you that the internet still has its healthy supply of porn available.

As for an actual way to say how much porn is on the net? Pretty much impossible IMO. Too many people have different definitions. I've met people who feel any nudity at all is "porn" and I've met people who dont think "porn" starts until double penetration. Heck for some people me just writing "double penetration" classifies this as porn.


On a side note it sickens me that people can tack almost completely unrelated riders onto other bills to pass them. Maybe I just get a one sided view of it but it always seems to be used to pass potentially unpopular bills through congress on the coattails of a more popular one.

And lastly I dont get how you can limit stuff on the net without affecting free speech. You can make porn movies, so why not porn websites? If littly billy is visiting them instead of reading the bible maybe his mom should watch him better, first off its not really that hard to just monitor your kid, but moreover there are plenty of "net nanny" type programs out there now, many of them free. and if you catch him on one, punish him, thats the end of that, dont punish the rest of us out there who need porn to live [Smile]

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TB Tabby
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80% of the results you get when you search for something on Google.

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I like to go down to the playground and watch the kids run and jump and scream, because they don't know I'm only using blanks.

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Snow-Dog
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I always thought that internet censorship laws were sad and yet kind of funny. I don't think there's really anyway to eliminate anything on the web.

Sure you could ban porn sites in the US, but what about the canadian sites or the russian sites, or the little pacific island sites.

Politicians can cry about what's online all they want, but they're near powerless to stop them.

Snow-The internet sees censorship as an error and routes around it-Dog

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Brandi
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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A-heh-- and here I was thinking "Only 80%?"
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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by TB Tabby:
80% of the results you get when you search for something on Google.

Yes, but that figure would depend on what you were searching for. A search for "sex" is going to get a much higher percentage of porn hits than a search for "alligators", for example.

There are two things (at least) that you might actually be trying to measure by your suggestion:

1. The proportion of the 4 1/2 billion-odd catalogued pages that are porn.

2. The proportion of all results returned by all possible search terms that are links to porn sites.

Number 2 is very difficult to measure, I'd say - apart from the infinite number of possible search terms, any random sampling method is likely to be thrown by the fact that some terms return almost no porn results whereas others will return almost all porn results.

Number 1 is hard to measure unless you have direct access to Google's whole catalogue - if you try to estimate it by using search terms you get the second thing. If you do have access to their catalogue it's just a matter of counting the proportion of porn pages, and you can do that with varying degrees of accuracy by taking random samples.

It's a shame Google's "I'm feeling lucky" button just takes you to an instruction page if you use an empty search field. If it didn't, and instead took you to a completely random page, you could just click that a lot and count the proportion of porn sites that came up.

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WizyWyg
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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One figure that was pointed out to my media arts class in my content development for the web is that (usually start with a random page in a Search Engine search)

Starting from anywhere on the net, if you click randomly 5 clicks from one page to another, you will land on an adult oriented page.

and I thought the Act was targeted for on air/phone/tv broadcast (and of course Fax). Not the interenet.


Also remember, a search engine doesn't catalog every single piece of item on the net. Unless there is an Engine that is accessible to hidden directories, storage sites (sees all that is saved in soeones private folders), able to guess what is in generically named images ( DSC001.jpg etc), and doesn't use its own 'censorship' engines, you will nevr get a true number of what total content is out there on the net.

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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This reminds me of a game we used to play when I was doing my Masters Degree..

Put your own name in Google and see what the minimum number of pages you have to navigate to get to porn!

Hans "Helps if you are called Fanny Beaver " Off

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Simonstrical
The Red and the Green Stamps


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WizyWyg:
Starting from anywhere on the net, if you click randomly 5 clicks from one page to another, you will land on an adult oriented page.
Well, starting from this page, I went to an "E-mail Richard W" link, then to the forum index page (via the big pumpkin in the corner), then to the last post in Petty Bickering (in the "Reporters Smuggle Knives" thing), then to the "E-mail a friend" page, and finally to snopes.com.

-Simetrical (then the ULRP are pornographic!)

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ct
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Anal cum-guzzling teens don't make an echo, and no one knows why.
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faceless007
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Shoot, about two years ago, I read a very interesting book about this subject, and one chapter was about how that oft-cited statistic was created and came to be believed across the country. But was a library book, so I can't really tell you any more facts about the case. If you're interested, it was Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace by Jonathan Wallace and Mark Mangan
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CD
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Reminds me of a Simpsons episode:

Homer (or maybe Bart) starts up a website that is a huge hit. He is then told that, "Your website is the #1 non-porn website on the internet. Making it 1 trillionth overall."

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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Or a quote from Dr. Cox on Scrubs: If you took all the porn off the Internet, there'd be only one website left, bringbacktheporn.com

Pogue

--------------------
Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by CD:
Reminds me of a Simpsons episode:

Homer (or maybe Bart) starts up a website that is a huge hit. He is then told that, "Your website is the #1 non-porn website on the internet. Making it 1 trillionth overall."

That would be Homer..

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W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

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CD
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Ok thanks. I couldn't remember if it was the Mr. X episode or the Angry Dad episode.
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jayjaybees
Deck the Malls


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o/` The Internet is for porn.
The Internet is for porn.
Me up all night honking me horn to porn, porn, porn...o/`

Sorry. Had a little Avenue Q moment there...

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