Facebook Won't Censor Itself for India

Facebook has responded to the Indian government's request to self-censor its content and remove comments that criticised the ruling party, saying that they would only do so if it broke its terms and conditions.

"We will remove any content that violates our terms, which are designed to keep material that is hateful, threatening, incites violence or contains nudity off the service," said the statement released by a Facebook spokesperson.

ZDNet reports that essentially, the social network is saying no, that it won't censor comments since that would infringe on the free speech of users. The statement does suggest that if any comment or post went as far as threatening the lives of individuals, or perhaps inciting hatred, Facebook would step in. Essentially though, no rules would be changed just because the Indian government wants them to.

Of course such a move shouldn't really occur in a democracy anyway, though the Indian Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal may have a reason for requesting the changes. Apparently because India is a country with several religions, what might be funny to some people could be deeply offensive to others. Like his fellow politicians for example.

Claiming that he was speaking on behalf of "any reasonable person," Sibal claims that pictures of the prophet Mohammed, or doctored images of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were offensive and shouldn't be seen by anyone. It is content like this, as well as disparaging comments aimed at the ruling party that Sibal wants removed.

Unfortunately for him, unless they are considered to incite violence or hatred, it's not going to happen.