Here We Go Again: Indian Court Threatens Facebook

Continuing to demand the technically impossible, a court in India issued another threat against Facebook, threatening to block the social network and other websites, including Google, if "offensive and objectionable" content is not removed.

Continuing to demand the technically impossible, a court in India issued another threat against Facebook, threatening to block the social network and other websites, including Google, if “offensive and objectionable” content is not removed.

AFP reported the latest development in the country, saying that the Delhi High Court ruled during a hearing Thursday:

You must have a stringent check. Otherwise, like in China, we may pass orders banning all such websites.

As we reported last month, the mandate by India is problematic on two fronts.

First, who defines what content falls under the following descriptions: disparaging, inflammatory, defamatory, offensive, or objectionable?

Second, undertaking such an effort is just not technically feasible with the volume of content produced by more than 38 million Facebook users in India, not to mention other targeted sites, including those run by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

AFP reported that Mukul Rohatgi, a lawyer for Google India, told the Delhi High Court:

No human interference is possible and, moreover, it can’t be feasible to check such incidents.

Rohatgi’s statement to the court mirrored what officials from the Indian divisions of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo told India’s Acting Telecommunications Minister, Kapil Sibal, last month:

The request is impossible to honor due to the high volume of user-generated content coming from India, and they cannot be responsible for determining whether content is defamatory, inflammatory, or disparaging.

Readers: Do you see any potential compromise here, or are more than 38 million Facebook users in India facing the loss of access to the social network?

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