A Delhi court judge recently threatened social networking companies of China like ban if they did not remove objectionable content. There were two critical flaws with the directive:
- India is not China
- "Objectionable content" is subjective
Facebook and Google were the targets because of their popular social networks. One of the companies named was Microsoft which made me wonder why. Microsoft has Windows Live which isn't a social network like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut or Google+ and while they do have a blogging platform (now powered by WordPress), it isn't used as widely as Blogger, Wordpress.com or self-hosted blogs. Microsoft being named in the case had little to no sense. I guess conventional wisdom said if it has anything to do with technology, lets name Microsoft as a threat to communal harmony.
The complaint filed by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasm is against 22 companies with online properties. Some of these are Yahoo, Facebook, Google (YouTube, Orkut, Blogger), Microsoft, Exboii, Shyni Blog, Topix, myLot, Boardreader, Zombie Time and IMC India. Checking out these websites, I found: Boardreader—a forum search engine, essentially an aggregator myLot—a discussion portal Topix—another news aggregator with comments & discussions Zombie Time—I have no clue of what Exboii, Shyni Blog and IMC India are here.
Yahoo's name in the complaint was as baffling. They don't even have a search engine of their own. (Yahoo search is powered by Microsoft's Bing.) Yahoo India had filed a plea with the Delhi High Court asking the court to let them off the whole drama. The High Court agreed saying there was not enough credible evidence against Yahoo. It is amusing that the same High Court judge who wants to have China-like rules in India accepted Yahoo India's plea. Anyhoo...
The Economic Times story also points out that a lower court let Microsoft India off the hook as well. The next date to look out for in this drama is March 13; that is when Google India and Facebook will be appearing in court. Early last month both Facebook and Google said that they have removed objectionable content.