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Govt seeks filtering of Facebook, Google content

Govt seeks filtering of Facebook, Google content

The content in question is described by sources as provocative and insensitive to the feelings of various communities. Some of the content is viewed as insulting and obscene.

The government has taken objection to some of the content on Facebook, Google and similar platforms and told them to find a way to ensure that such material is not carried.

Highly-placed sources said in the national capital on Monday that there was, however, no intention to censor such platforms. At the same time, they should be "sensitive about community standards in India and it is their responsibility to find solutions to the problem," they said.

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The content in question is described by these sources as provocative and insensitive to the feelings of various communities. Some of the content is viewed as insulting and obscene.

Representatives of these platforms have held discussions with Government in recent weeks but they have virtually expressed their inability to do anything in the matter.

According to a report in The New York Times, top officials from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook are meeting with Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday afternoon to discuss the issue.

Sibal's office confirmed that he would meet with Internet service providers on Monday but did not provide more information about the content of the meeting.

The report says about six weeks ago, the telecom minister had called legal representatives from the top Internet service providers and Facebook into his New Delhi office, showing them a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party's president, Sonia Gandhi. 

"This is unacceptable," he is said to have told the attendees of the meeting, asking them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites.

In the second meeting with the same executives in late November, Sibal told them that he expected them to use human beings to screen content, not technology.

The report adds that the executives of the internet service providers were asked by Sibal to set up a proactive pre-screening system, with staffers looking for objectionable content and deleting it before it is posted.

Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft did not respond immediately to calls for comment, and a Google spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the issue.

Facebook said earlier this year it has more than 25 million users in India. Google has over 100 million Internet users in India.

Published on: Dec 06, 2011, 12:46 PM IST
Posted by: Gaytri Madhura, Dec 06, 2011, 12:46 PM IST