Facebook, Google working with govt to remove hateful content

Internet companies Google and Facebook today said they are working with Indian authorities to remove "inflammatory and hateful content" on their websites.

"We understand the gravity of the situation, strongly condemn acts of violence and continue to work closely with relevant authorities. Content intended to incite violence, such as hate speech, is prohibited on Google products where we host content, including YouTube, Google+ and Blogger," Google said in a statement.

It added that Google acts "quickly to remove such material flagged by our users" and complies with valid legal requests from authorities wherever possible, consistent with its policy.

The government has ordered ban of 310 webpages charging that morphed images and videos were uploaded displaying alleged atrocities on Muslims. It said these led to the fear psychosis among the people of the North-East and their mass exodus from different parts of the country.

There have been debates in the past over social networks being misused for "inflammatory content" and monitoring of content on these websites. However, there was strong opposition saying such a move would be curbing freedom of expression.

Facebook, which has about 50 million users in India, also said it is working with the Indian authorities. "Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms as set out in our 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," a Facebook spokesperson said.

"We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies," it added. The spokeserson added that it encourages people to continue to use its tools to report content they are concerned about so that it can "investigate and take action fast."

According to the government, some of the content have been uploaded from outside the country, mostly from Pakistan, and wants the websites to take quick action to block them.

Ministry officials said so far 207 webpages have been blocked by the government agencies after orders were issued to block 310 as technical investigation found that all offensive images and videos were uploaded in them.

Of the 310 webpages, 93 webpages are expected to be blocked within a day or two while experts are examining the contents of remaining ten webpages.

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