Facebook, the social media behemoth stands trial today in India.
Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states in its news released 12th March, that Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are set to begin trial here Tuesday to face charges that they didn’t censor objectionable content from their sites, putting on stark display the legal risks for Internet companies chasing growth in India.
It may or may not be coincidental that accessing Facebook today on March 13th is far more problematic when browser just throws the message – could not find Facebook.com! While more than half of India logs in at 10 AM at work – Facebook is one of the few websites which is opened up within 5 minutes of logging in. And today there will be disappointment when people will check their DNS and Internet connectivity and then be surprised that Facebook is down!
The case is the highest-stakes example yet of the controversy in India over what role Internet companies should have in policing content on the Web. If convicted, executives from the companies could face jail time and the companies could face fines, lawyers following the case said. Under regulations India put in place last year, Internet companies are supposed to remove within 36 hours of being notified material that falls into a range of categories—for example, anything “ethnically objectionable,” “grossly harmful,” “defamatory” or “blasphemous.”
The criminal complaint filed by Indian journalist Vinay Rai alleges that 12 services, including Facebook, Google’s YouTube video site and Orkut social network, and several smaller Indian sites hosted material that “seeks to create enmity, hatred and communal violence” and “will corrupt minds.” The complaint refers to obscene content and material that depicted Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious figures in a mocking or offensive manner.
Source : Wall Street Journal Article
What does it mean to Indian IT?
Small & Medium IT Business houses depend to a minimal extent on Facebook for lead generation. However, they surely cut their marketing spend on the traditional media to a large extent by having their presence on the social media channel which dominates the globe. With Facebook down for a short period, no effect would be felt. But if the court order takes its toll today then all B2C businesses which rely on the social media channels would see a major void in their marketing outreach.
Major IT companies in India would see it rather as a productive thing 🙂 when less of their employees would while away their time in FB, as it is popularly called.
Till the time it is live again, it is hasta la vista, Facebook! And lets get back to work while Indian Judicial system decides how we access the Social Media Platform.