Facebook, Google Self-Censor After Indian Court Order

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Facebook and Google are leading the way for online companies in India to remove content deemed religiously or politically offensive, after a court there threatened a large-scale crackdown if they didn't comply. 

The two companies have already taken some content offline, Reuters reports, and a New Dehli court ordered them to "put in writing the steps they had taken to block offensive content, and submit reports within 15 days." Google wouldn't say which sites it had taken down, Associated Press reports, "but had said it would be willing to go after anything that violated local law or its own standards." The companies had battled government pressure to censor user-generated content, which stems from a law passed last year that made companies responsible for what users posted. When a high-court judge threatened a China-style crackdown if they didn't comply with that law, the sites came into compliance, Reuters reported. Indian communications minister Sachin Pilot said the order wasn't censorship, but said, "They all have to operate within the laws of the country. ... There must be responsible behavior on both sides." India has laws against hate speech that make it a crime to disrespect other religions.

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