So long, and thanks for all the kittens

Make America Kittens Again was released (well, deposited unceremoniously on Github) in February 2016. Later that year it went viral, capturing more global attention and users than probably anything else I’ll ever create in my lifetime.

It made the news, spawned knock-off merchandise and generated a small quantity of hate-mail, mostly of the laughable rather than worrying variety.

But now, six years and change later, it’s gone. Sorry.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Google, noting that the extension was in violation of a policy, namely:

Providing content advocating against specific groups of people.

Under that, some detail:

Hate speech:

We don’t allow content advocating against or inciting hatred towards groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or any other characteristic that is associated with systematic discrimination or marginalisation.

Additionally, the visibility of your product may be impacted if it contains generally hateful content not covered by the above definition.

If you think this sounds odd or like an error, well, I agree. I don’t see how “replacing photos of one particularly awful human being with photos of a cat because you hate him” advocates against any particular group – other than, perhaps, “awful human beings”, but then I’d argue that they aren’t subject to any marginalisation, in fact quite the opposite.

And as for “generally hateful content”, well.. do they mean the kittens?

I did dash off a quick appeal, but this was rapidly rejected with the same reasons given. A few days later, a notice confirmed the removal of the plugin from the Chrome Store. And so, rather than attempt any further protest, I think it’s time to call this one done.

The plugin code is old and messy, Trump has fucked off to a (hopefully) forever vacation in Mar-a-Lago; maybe the kittens need a rest. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed or supported the project.

All © 2022 Tom Royal