Google, Facebook remove content in India on court order

6 Feb 2012

Facebook and Google have said they will remove “objectionable” material in India after a court said it would block the sites in the region if they did not comply.

BBC News reports that 21 web companies, including Yahoo!, are facing a civil suit in India which claims they are hosting material that may cause communal unrest.

Last month, the Delhi High Court asked Facebook and Google India to remove “offensive and objectionable material” for their sites or be blocked in the region.

The civil case being heard in Delhi was filed by Muslim petitioner Mufti Aizaz Arshad Kazmi, who claimed the companies were hosting material intolerant to religious beliefs. A separate criminal lawsuit is being brought to court by journalist Vinay Rai which makes similar allegations against a number of web firms.

Google and Facebook said they complied with the court’s order to remove certain material.

Previously, India’s telecommunication minister, Kapil Sibal, met with officials from the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to discuss prescreening user content and removing anything derogatory before it’s posted online.

It stemmed from the Indian government’s disapproval of web pages dedicated to insulting its prime minister, Manmohan Singh, ruling congress party leader, Sonia Gandhi, and major religious figures.

However, Google argued it was not possible to prescreen material uploaded by “billions of people across the globe.” Facebook argued it already has policies in place to allow users to report abusive content.