back to article Google and Facebook remove 'offensive' content from Indian sites

Facebook and Google have removed content from Indian domain websites in response to a court order to get rid of "objectionable content". The Indian subsidiaries of the internet firms were in court in New Delhi on Monday in a civil suit against the firms, and other web giants, brought by Muslim petitioner Mufti Aijaz Arshad …


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  1. Geoff May

    "If there are complaints, the company has just 36 hours to remove the offending material"

    So ... if I raise a complaint about the Indian Government web site, does that mean they have to shut down?

    Who needs DDoS with that sort of power ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually the companies could do a much better DDoS by all blocking Indian domains completely. No Google searching for Indians, and no Indian companies being listed worldwide, same for Bing (Microsoft) and Facebook going off as well. OK, last point is not significant.

      Wonder how long before the Indian gov changes the law to be more sensible when money is at stake?

    2. LarsG


      Let no one criticise our actions for we are omnipotent, we rule you shall follow.

      If you don't we will punish you.....

      It is the slippery slope, getting steeper and steeper and steeper.

      Access Denied....Access Denied....Access Denied.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: who needs DDoS

      If *your* site is hosting material that originates from someone else, it is *your* responsibility to ensure that it conforms to local law. Newsprint and broadcast media have lived under that contraint since forever without any long-term detriment to freedom of speech.

      If your Web 2.0 business model is technologically incompatible with long-established legal practice, perhaps it is your business model that is wrong.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite frankly

    .. I find the whole concept of Facebook offensive, and would like it removed from the internet in its entirety.

    Come on, get on with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite frankly

      The whole concept, really? Or just that the nearest you have to a group of friends are the 6 who've upvoted your comment? And given how cliched you comment was, do you really think their appreciation of such trite crap speaks well of them?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I wish I could make friends like you.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      so you've

      Been turned down by everyone you've sent a friend request to.... Or they've just left you in limbo land.. which is worse, not knowing, hoping for a reply that never comes.

      Very sad.

  3. dotdavid
    Thumb Up

    Excellent scheme

    Want to add to government coffers? Just legislate that rich internet companies have to do something impossible! Then when they can't do it, you can fine them every year or so - guaranteed income!

    Bonus points for making the impossible thing something socially beneficial if solved - the internet companies employ lots of clever people, you never know but they might just crack perpetual motion, cold fusion or a cure for cancer.

  4. Piloti

    Tail wagging dog......

    A few points :

    If you find something offensive, then do not look at it.

    If you /are/ offended, is this your problem or the 'materials' problem ?

    If the Indian Gov' is so offended, them let them close down / block Google et al and see how the Indian populous feels about this.

    and finally.....

    .... why are 'the religious' the ones who decide what is offensive ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm all for that

      Maybe then fewer of our graduates would be out of work, they too can search Google to do the needful. Save us offshoring such skills.

      They have to pay UK tax though, which makes them too expensive.

    2. zanto


      ".... why are 'the religious' the ones who decide what is offensive ?"

      post something homophobic and you might want to revisit that statement of yours.

      not defending religion or gay bashing, just pointing out the hypocrisy in general.

      what's sauce for the goose....

      1. KnucklesTheDog


        The difference is religion is just an opinion. So if you stop people disagreeing with your opinion *you* become the bigot. Stopping people being homophobic is the other way round.

        1. Piloti

          @zanto @KucklesTheDog....

          Actually, I agree with both of you.

          The difference, for me anyway, is about freedom of expression and discrimination.

          Having a discussion about, say, same sex couples being allowed to marry and / or having tax benefits being more equitable seems to me to completely normal and should not be subjected to 'filtering'.

          Having a discussdion about the 'rights and wrongs' of being gay, no matter how offensive, should also not be banned / filtered. Social morays will usually win out and the 'anit-gay brigade will usyually be shut into the little box they deserve to be, at least by the rest of society.

          Religion however is simply an opinion based on pretty outdated thinking [if this is the right word ?] and should also be open to the same debate as, say, same sex marriages.

          Having thought about this though, there is the question of society. There are countries, for instance Uganda, where it is illegal to be gay. Mainly because 'religion' says so.

          So, in this case, our view of freedom of expression and discrimination would be very different and therefore 'society' [Ugandan in this case] would fully endorse censorship.

          Which is of course how the Indians are seeing this.

          For me, there is a grey area here, but, as an athiest I would say stuff it all, do not ban or filter anything* and let socoety resolve it. It has taken the UK a long time to get where we are now and to socially understand where the boundaries lay, but then again, we are mostly a secular society with a 'free for all' mentality, and India is not….

          * Of couse the UK does also have a certina amount of censorring and 'filtering' and it is increasing, but, as far as I can see, this is mostly agreed socially and involves what our society views as the extremes. But this is also the same in India where being anti-relgious is also seen as 'exterme'.

  5. Cunningly Linguistic

    Pah! Fucking religion!

    As if life wasn't complicated enough.

  6. Vic

    This should be good for UK IT providers...

    The First Commandment :- "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. "

    So any non-Christian web page is fundamentally offensive to Christians.

    The ensuing take-down wars should ensure that India is effectively isolated, and so all the outsourcing should die down...


  7. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    "India's minister of communications and information technology, Kapil Sibal emphasised that there were things on the internet that "any normal human being would be offended by".

    He has a point, maybe he has been doing some Pete Townshend research "purely to see what was there".

    Personally I'd also have to say that there are things on the internet that offend me... like state censorship... it should be removed immediately.

  8. Crisp
    Thumb Up

    Luckily, other search engines and social networking sites are available.

    Luckily, other search engines and social networking sites are available. They can't legislate against them all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err.... I'm pretty sure they can and did...

      Sure, they're hitting the big ones first since they probably contain the majority of "offensive" content, but the law was clearly about content distributors being responsible for the content they distribute.

      Doesn't sound so unfair when you put it like that, but they're basically enforcing full moderation of every website, which isn't really going to work for them in the long run.

      Presumably, any extra-Indian sites that don't voluntarily remove said content will just be blocked at the border.

      A sad day for free speech and censorship - again.

  9. Steve Renouf

    So, presumably

    this only applies to and all the other google TLDs are unaffected. In which case, all those affected "sub-normal" Indians that want to be offended will still be able to find all the offensive material they want to be offended by elsewhere

  10. Christopher Slater-Walker

    The lunatics have taken over the asylum

    Lunatics = professional offence-takers, e.g. religionists, special-interest groups, you name it...

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


      Luddites; Shirley.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    ignorant moron

    "Vinay Rai, the Hindu petitioner who brought the High Court case, said that if the companies can remove the content, they should be able to do it all the time instead of waiting for a court case to force them to do so."

    what an ignorant moron. so he wants to move the decision of lawfulness from a legal court to the company's discretion? How is that constitutional? If there is a problem, the court should first either check each infringement if indeed it is or provide a clear list with criteria about how to decide, which the internet company could then implement in code. In a way that doesn't produce bureaucracy.

    @theRegister the religion "Hindu" of said moron is irrelevant - that person is just a petitioner at the court, no need to flame the religion here.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Relevance of "Hindu"

      > @theRegister the religion "Hindu" of said moron is irrelevant - that person is just a petitioner at the court, no need to flame the religion here.

      Well, he is making his claim on religious grounds, so it is an important part of the story; it is also important, in general to show that all religions have their lot of nutters; and in this particular case because India also have a lot of muslims and Islam has been used as a scapegoat enough as it is (regardless of my general opinion on all religions).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    36 hours

    So, effectively Indians can't view any content over 36 hours old?

    That nicely fixes the problem. The Indians will just have to live at Web8.0 speed.

    1. LaeMing

      36 hours!

      See, that's what happens when you out-source Samara Morgan.

  13. Zippy the Pinhead

    Good for the economy locally though

    Just imagine the thousands of new employees that would have to be hired to handle the influx of "I'm offended by" complaints.

    This reeks of SOPA/PIPA here in the US.. making websites responsible for user uploaded content.

    I agree with AC.. Block all Indian content. throw up a 404 page stating something like "Your Government wants us to censor searches deemed too offensive for you to view and since anyone can be offended by pretty much anything.. we've shut it all down.. Our suggestion is to take your rage our on your local government official.. That is unless you like being led around like sheep."

    1. LaeMing

      We need a new 404

      We need a knew 4xx internet error code: "This region's Government is broken, please try again after next election."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    am i allowed to say fuck this, or is that offensive?

    go to any article on and then the comments section. if anything is offensive you'll find it over there.

    this is just step one before the government starts finding material discussing corruption as offensive.

    annon because there's no telling what those crooks can do.

  15. Someone Else Silver badge

    If Google, Facebook, et al, had any stones...

    ...they would, at the same time, 404 any request from any requestor with a .in TLD, and see how long before this nonsense"mitigated".

    I'd put the over/under at somewhere around 2 weeks....

  16. johnwerneken

    to hell with India

    The idea that mobs of people including voting majorities or nations have rights, deserve respect, or should be conceded any legitimacy, is just stupid. The only thing a government should protect anyone from, is violence and coercion by force.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...had removed material from their Indian sites that was deemed offensive to Muslims, Hindus and Christians..."

    This would be the same India that is striving to become one of the emerging superpowers then, would it?

    I'm sure their great scientific and technological leap forward will benefit immeasurably from enshrining into law the views of practitioners of various strands of crackpot mediaeval voodoo; "India today cancelled the launch of its latest satellite after protestors claimed that the rocket might knock God off his cloud and land in Allah's walled garden"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it offensive

    For any web site to mention religion, censorship or have words with vowels in them - so can the Register please take down this article and the comments.

    And in the future please predict if anyone is going to mention religion, censorship or have words with vowels and stop them from posting before they try.


    Hey - if you string more then 2 letters together you are bound to "offend" someone somewhere. There are just to many idiots in the world to avoid them all (or hit them over the head with a shovel and bury them in the backyard).

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it boggles the mind

    Let me get this straight. even if Joe the plumber (remember him?) had to post something the indian government/lawyers find offensive those idiots can have it taken down?

    move over uncle sam, there's a new bully on the block.

  20. andy 45

    @AC 23:59 GMT

    You are using vowels yourself you fool.

    Please refrain from doing so, or just refrain from posting please...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Needs to be streamlined

    Would be easier if the sites were pre-approved/licensed by the Indian government in order to access the web. Takes out the middle-censor.

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