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Online Social Networks Face Litigation Risks

by Roopesh Shenoy on Feb 06, 2012 |

Google, Facebook and other companies operating totally 21 Social Networking websites are facing criminal proceedings in an Indian Court, over objectionable content accessible through the websites. A High Court has warned that the sites can face a ban in India unless they screen content. Is the growing flux of regulations surrounding social media a risk for businesses investing in social?

Last year UK threatened to ban social websites following an unrest.  The US government has recently proposed acts such as SOPA and PIPA around prevention of piracy and copyright violation. The current litigation in India is centered on objectionable and derogatory content, but we have also seen censorship based on political and national security reasons. China already maintains a tight control over internet traffic in the country. In general, thanks to the influence of social networks, authorities are holding social network operators responsible for the content posted by the user, in addition to the user herself, and demanding more control. 

Meanwhile, businesses are planning to go more social -

In a survey conducted by IBM last year among more than 3,000 CIOs in 71 countries, 55 percent of respondents said they planned to invest in social networking and collaboration-based software, as a way to increase their competitiveness. Seventy-seven percent said they wanted to change internal collaboration processes over the next three to five years.

Does risk of local regulations factor into this plan? For instance, we already know that emails can be used as evidence in lawsuits in several countries. Could this be extrapolated to content in social networks?

We ask our readers - do you think of regulations or litigation as a risk related to operating or using social networks? If so, how do you or your company plan to mitigate this risk?

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Should we remove the highways ? Trucs, boats and airplanes ? by Serge Bureau

They all allow to carry "objectionable content".

I hope Google and all the computer industry refuse to budge on this. It is ridiculous and people in general have enough of this.

It is an incredible risk, states have no moral; so they cannot give lessons.

Re: Should we remove the highways ? Trucs, boats and airplanes ? by Roopesh Shenoy

@Serge - can understand the outrage. The point is as citizens we can try to influence the law/regulations/state policy, but as Engineers/businesses I think we need to be aware of the risks and be prepared for it. Question is how do we account those risks?

Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by mani doraisamy

states have no moral; so they cannot give lessons.
These are sweeping statements.

The content under litigation are morphed pornographic images of deities and leaders, that can create communal tension in the country. pls don't paint everything with the same brush!

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by Serge Bureau

states have no moral; so they cannot give lessons.

These are sweeping statements.


Please show me one that has ?

Do not confuse law and justice, any agreement between them is pure luck.
Law are there to protect rich and powerful, mainly to control the rest.

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by mani doraisamy

If lawlessness is your answer for that, that is your personal opinion and is outside the scope of this topic. But an average citizen cant live in anarchy - be it in real or cyber world.

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by Serge Bureau

A High Court has warned that the sites can face a ban in India unless they screen content


That is the original message. How exactly do you see a way to apply such a ban ?
By filter ?
Most company cannot even scan properly for SPAM inside emails. Now you think you can automate what is allowed in terabytes of messages and pictures ? How do you do this except by removing contents with a quite large spectrum.
It is not just practical, so it will turn to censorship.

It will penalize good citizens in order to stop .1%, that is what you advocate ?

Plus how are the companies to decide what is to be removed ? In many languages ?

Isn't that anarchy ?

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by Roopesh Shenoy

Guys - before this gets any further, please note that this is not the best forum to debate the merits/demerits of particular state actions/court rulings. Each view-point will have justifications and we won't reach any productive conclusion.

The point is this is a global phenomenon, and more than one country is considering moves to control social content to some extent (whether for good or bad is a different matter). How does this affect businesses? Are either of you a part of a business that sees this as a potential risk to your enterprise social plans?

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by mani doraisamy

Only, if there is a ban, it will affect enterprise social plans. Otherwise, these content has nothing to do with business (unless you are running mafia).

But i think, a ban is unlikely in a world of siri, nlp and facial recognition (Opportunity may be, for nlp vendors). These companies need to spend a fraction of their technology/money they use for sniffing/interpreting our private information to serve ads.

Re: Freedom doesnt mean being irresponsible by Serge Bureau

Please do read the previous message.

I stated that there is no way to really filter that.
So technically it is not possible. Plus they provide search capabilities not law enforcement ?
If rules like that are allowed, there will be no more business possible.

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