India Puts Facebook And 11 Others On Trial

This week, India begins a trial against the social network and 11 other online services for not taking down content that may offend people in this part of the world.

Take that, Facebook: The second most populous nation in the world begins a trial this week against the social network and 11 other online services for not taking down content that India’s people might consider offensive.

India’s laws require Internet companies to remove within 36 hours any material that “seeks to create enmity, hatred and deemed “ethnically objectionable, grossly harmful, defamatory or blasphemous,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook and the other online services have said that when they’re notified of specific things that offend, then removing them is the companies’ responsibility. However, they can’t be held liable for content posted by users and can’t monitor everything that gets posted.

One possible outcome of this case might propel India to follow China’s example in blocking citizens’ access to Facebook — that would amount to one third of the world blocking access to the social network.

India is the world’s second most populous nation, with 1.22 billion people. China leads with a population of 1.3 billion.

According to Facebook’s advertising dashboard, 39.6 million people in India now have accounts on the social network.

Facebook has been India’s leading social network since overtaking Orkut there in the summer of 2010.

Yet the vast majority of India has yet to discover social media, let alone the Internet, as only ten percent of the country’s population has online access.

So it’s not inaccurate to say that Facebook’s future growth might be determined by India’s trial beginning tomorrow.

Readers, what kind of outcome do you expect to see from India’s trial of Facebook?