Facebook and Google agree to Indian censorship demands

Facebook and Google have deleted content in India after the Delhi High Court ordered them to remove what's been described as material offensive to Muslims, Hindus and Christians. The contentious religious content spread on Facebook, ZDNet reports, and was discoverable through Google searching, a private complaint alleged back in December, and could "corrupt minds", resulting in higher court justice  Suresh Kait threatening China-style blocking if the sites did not comply with take-down requests.

"Like China, we too can block such websites" Kait told lawyers from Facebook and Google, going on to refer to laws passed in India last year that mandates a 36-hour take-down from the point of complaint. Both Google and Facebook have already complied with such requests, the two companies confirmed.

Now, the high court has demanded the two firms – along with 19 others – present their plans for a blocking system that will prevent "objectionable material" from being accessed by users in India. A fifteen day deadline has been imposed, though Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft have all protested that they are yet to be targeted with specific complaints.

The argument that users are responsible for their own uploads and shared content, however, and that Facebook, Google and others have a non-interference policy, did not go down well with the Indian judge. The sites face criticisms from the Indian government that standards deemed suitable for the US market are insufficient for India's 100m internet users.