Microsoft revises policy on shutting down blogs

By Derek Sooman on February 1, 2006, 3:26 AM
Following a public backlash over the shutdown of a China blogger's site hosted by its MSN Spaces service, Microsoft has revised its policy on deleting weblogs. The policy will now be to block access to sites in a particular country where a problem arises, rather than deleting the content outright. The controversy started after Microsoft shut down the MSN Spaces-hosted blog of Zhao Jing, a Beijing-based researcher for the New York Times. Zhao Jing had posted articles critical of a management purge at Beijing News. The company then received a request from Beijing to shut the weblog down, which they complied with.

Zhao was not given any advanced notice by the company that his site would be deleted and told XFN-Asia several days after the event that Microsoft's customer services had not responded to his requests for information.

Microsoft's rivals Google Inc and Yahoo! Inc have also faced negative publicity for censoring information in China and turning over to the government details of users of its service.

User Comments: 8

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asphix said:
I don't understand why all the attention for things like this are being focused toward the middle man.Google complies with Chinas government, people get pissed at Google. Microsoft complies with chinas government, people get angry at Microsoft. Why aren't people getting angry with the Chinese government?Granted, I realize you can be pissed off at a corporation and not have them throw military personel at you. I suppose people attack the corporations because they'd rather the corporation do the work they should be doing.I dont believe the people who are upset by the oppression the Chinese government is enforcing on its people have any right to any sort of opinion on the matter when all they do is hide behind giant corporations expecting them to do the work for them. Where do they get the right to demand someone else do the work to achieve their goals and desires?If the Chinese people are upset the government sensors their media, why dont they revolt? If United States citizens and groups are angry and think its wrong, why dont they move to China and start planting seeds! Put your money where your mouth is! Dont sit here and say what coporations, or what people should or shouldnt do! If you feel strongly enough that something should be done, no better way to see it through than to do it yourself!
Need_a_Dell said:
The internet is an amazing thing. It has givem millions of people all around the world a chance to raise their voice and get themselves heard. Even though China is a communist country, the internet should remain a place for people to be free. I don't think it's right that China is limiting what their people can access and say on the internet. The Chinese need to rise in favour of their beliefs and recieve what it is they strive for.
Phantasm66 said:
[b]Originally posted by asphix:[/b][quote]Why aren't people getting angry with the Chinese government?[/quote]I am.[b]Originally posted by Need_a_Dell:[/b][quote]The Chinese need to rise in favour of their beliefs and recieve what it is they strive for.[/quote]They get shot for that.
barfarf said:
asphix i think a major gov't change such as revolt is a lot harder then said. Like Phantasm66 mentioned they might get shot. At least the "people" can sue private companies such as Google and Mircosoft with out risk of life. Try suing the China gov't can be a wee bit more dangerous. Plus the more negative press about China means the pressure the might feel and that is always a good thing.
nathanskywalker said:
[quote]They get shot for that.[/quote]Yeah, pretty much. It is up to google, MS, and yahoo to fight for those who really can't do much. While the Chinese could do something, a real chance would pretty much require a complete Cu; and that could spark alot more than just civil war.I think that it is googles, Yahoos, and MS, fault. The Chinese government does not have juristiction over, and cannot tell them what to do. They were simply looking out for their own interests, and proofing that their own, underlying characters are weak.
Race said:
[quote]Microsoft will remove access to blog content only when it receives a legally binding notice from the government indicating that the material violates local laws, or if the content violates MSN's terms of use, Smith said. The statement said Microsoft will remove access to content only in the country issuing the order. When blog content is blocked due to restrictions based on local laws, the rest of the world will continue to have access.[/quote] The fact of the matter is......China is what it is, and if foreign companies or individuals want to conduct business there, the local rule of law it or not...right or wrong.Operating in Beijing, with the government being sensitive to media issues, and Chinese portals and bulletin boards deleting related blogs and comments, I wouldn't imagine that this came as a shock to Zhao. That being said, I do think what Microsoft did with Zhao's blog initially was out of line, and the public backlash was expected. I'm satisfied with the changes made, but I do wish that Microsoft would have thought it through, and done this in the beginning.[Edited by Race on 2006-02-01 16:25:22]
Vaulden said:
China in general is not the poor country it used to be. Many companies will be more than willing to adhere to the governments wishes so they will be allowed access to their growing market.The quickest and easiest way is not always the best way, but companies tend to do knee-jerk reactions just like the rest of us when a situation arises. They regained their composure and changed their reaction. I prefer the current change to the prior myself, and am glad they came to their senses.
Eko said:
Let's get real: As long as the government of a powerful country sais "we are going this way", and they are big enough, no one can resist. Look at the Guantanamo bay detention camp. Does anyone realize that there is a parallel between that and China? The american government required that the journalists give them the source of information. In the name of "fighting against terr'ism" we all are going to lose the right to privacy, and finally we'll and up envying the Chinese. At least, they admit they don't give a sh** about human rights. The "democratic" regimes, on the other hand, have an agressive campaign about bla, bla human rights, but no one in this world dares to attack them, as they did to Yugoslavia, for breaking the human rights of some people, torture and stuff like that.Microsoft would not risk upsetting the Chinese, that's clear
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