By Somini Sengupta
|Viewing YouTube at an Internet cafe in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Afghan government tried to have access to the site blocked because of a troubling video. Courtesy of Mohammad Ismail/Reuters
For Google, the decision was clear. An anti-Islamic video that provoked violence worldwide was not hate speech under its rules because it did not specifically incite violence against Muslims, even if it mocked their faith.
The White House was not so sure, and it asked Google to reconsider the determination, a request the company rebuffed.
Although the administration’s request was unusual, for Google, it represented the kind of delicate balancing act that Internet companies confront every day.
These companies, which include communications media like Facebook and Twitter, write their own edicts about what kind of expression is allowed, things as diverse as pointed political criticism, nudity and notions as murky as hate speech. And their employees work around the clock to check when users run afoul of their rules.
Source: The New York Times