After a prolonged district court case ordered Google to take down images that may be offensive to Muslims, Google has agreed to do just that, and has began to censor its search results to remove offensive images. Facebook and Yahoo, also named in the case, are sticking to their guns and saying that they can’t police the content of their sites as that content is uploaded by users.
Google’s official statement was that “This step is in accordance with Google’s long-standing policy of responding to court orders.” While this is true, it doesn’t change the fact that they did not give in to censorship when the Chinese government asked them to. Google clearly has to pick its battles as it moves into the rough tides of International waters, and with the Indian government’s request for censorship representing an earnest plea to keep religious battles from arising, it must have been a difficult call.
A call that Facebook has yet to agree on. Facebook is not censoring their results or users based on the court order, and this may cause problems down the line as they work with the government on further expansion and eventually begin to recruit advertisers in the area.