The NYTimes.com reports that Kapil Sibal, the acting telecommunications minister for India is pushing Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook to more actively and effectively screen their content for disparaging, inflammatory and defamatory content.
Specifically Mr. Sibal is telling these companies that automated screening is insufficient and that they should have humans read and approve allmessages before they are posted.
This demand is both absurd and offensive.
- It is obviously impossible for these companies to have a human review the volume of messages they receive, the numbers are staggering.
- The demand for human review is either evidence that Mr. Sibal is completely ignorant of the technical realities involved, or this is an attempt to kill social media and their associated free wheeling exchanges of information and opinion.
- There is no clear objective standard for "disparaging, inflammatory, and defamatory" content, so the companies are assured of getting it wrong in many cases putting them at risk.
- The example of unacceptable content sighted by Mr. Sibal is a Facebook page that maligned Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi suggesting that this is more about preventing criticism than actually protecting maligned citizens.