Google, Facebook get 15 days deadline


2 May 2011
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Google, Facebook get 15 days deadline to remove ‘objectionable’ content

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday told Facebook and Google to put in writing the steps they have taken to block offensive content, and submit reports to the court within 15 days.

Earlier today, Facebook India filed its compliance report before the Delhi court which had ordered it to remove objectionable content.

Google India also told the court that it has removed certain web pages from the Internet on which objections were raised by the petitioners. "(Our) review team has looked at the content and disabled this content from the local domains of search, Youtube and Blogger," Google spokeswoman Paroma Chaudhry said.

Last month, the companies said it was not possible for them to block content. Google's Chaudhry declined to comment on what had since been removed, and a Facebook representative said only that the company would release a statement later.
The two are among 21 companies asked by the Court to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material after a private petitioner took them to court over images deemed offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians.

Meanwhile, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft told the court that they have no role to play in the case and there is no cause of action against them in the matter.

Additional Civil Judge Praveen Singh also posed a query to the counsel appearing for petitioner Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, as to whether the blog service-providing companies can be made a party to the case for any content posted by the users on the blogs.

The court also asked Google Inc as to why it was not coming up "properly" with a reply and brushed aside its contention that it had received the copy of the judgement and other documents related to case only on last Friday.

"Why are you (Google Inc) not coming properly with your reply?" the court said.

"Don't tell me you have been served only on Friday. After all this hullabaloo that has been created in the last few months you should have been prepared," it stated.

The court also asked the petitioner to supply the copies of all the documents relied upon, to all the opposite parties.

The court had on December 20 last year, in a ex-parte order issued summons to 22 social networking websites asking them to remove "anti-religious" or "anti-social" content in the form of photographs, videos or text which might hurt religious sentiments.

It had on December 24 set February 6 as deadline for the websites for the same.

Santosh Pandey, the counsel appearing for complainant Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, had assured the court that he would provide the companies with the copy of the complaint and other related documents.

The court's order had come amid a raging controversy over monitoring the content on Internet and of those websites depending on user generated contents, which arose after Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal had asked the social networking websites to "screen" the contents.

The websites, which have been asked to remove objectionable contents, include Facebook India, Facebook, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Orkut, Youtube, Blogspot, Microsoft India Pvt Ltd, Microsoft, Zombie Time, Exboii, Boardreader, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog and Topix.

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