Facebook, Twitter, Google to cooperate with Govt on screening sites

After cracking down on bulk SMSes, the Government on Monday blocked as many as 245 Web pages that fuelled the rumours causing panic among the North-Eastern community.

A statement from Communications and IT Ministry said that more than 150 Web pages – 76 on Saturday and 80 on Sunday, respectively – were blocked. The rest were blocked on Monday, including some pages on Facebook, Google and Twitter.

In responses to Business Line, Facebook and Google have confirmed saying they are abiding by the Government’s orders.

Facebook’s response

“We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies. We encourage people to continue to use our tools to report content they are concerned about so that we can investigate and take action fast,” a Facebook statement said.

Facebook will remove content that breaches its terms as set out in ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’. Content or individuals can be removed from Facebook for a variety of reasons, including issuing direct calls for violence or perpetuating hate speech, the company said.

“Content intended to incite violence is prohibited on YouTube, and we act quickly to remove such material flagged by our users. YouTube’s Community Guidelines also prohibit things like hate speech, shocking or disturbing content, illegal acts, and graphic violence, and we give our users tools to flag content so that we can review and remove anything that violates our policies,” a Google India spokesperson said.

The Government is also considering taking up the findings of the national cyber threat monitoring and response agency Computer Emergency Response Team – India’s (CERT-In) findings at international forums, as it has turned out to be the biggest instance of cyber warfare on India in recent times.

According to a Home Ministry report, many fake profiles were created for spreading morphed pictures with most of the online content getting posted from July 13 leading to a panic exodus of North-Eastern people from Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Sunday had expressed concern to his Pakistan counterpart over the issue of social media-networking sites being misused by elements based in Pakistan to circulate false pictures and stories so as to whip up communal sentiments in India.

Pak’s help sought

He had sought Pakistan’s full cooperation in checking and neutralising such elements.

The Interior Minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik assured full mutual cooperation in this matter.


(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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