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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
MSN Spaces getting a lot of (negative) press
I'd venture to say that it isn't very positive either. Robert Scoble was one of the first to bring this news to light in the mainstream blogs and he's not real happy about it. I'm not really sure where I stand here. On one hand, the Code of Conduct for MSN Spaces does seem to quite clearly spell out the rules and seems to quite clearly state that at their sole discretion, they may remove content, delete postings, ban users, etc. Listed here is the Code of Conduct from MSN Spaces.

Prohibited Uses

Violations of the MSN Spaces Code of Conduct may result in the termination of access to MSN Spaces services or deletion of content without notice.

You will not upload, post, transmit, transfer, disseminate, distribute, or facilitate distribution of any content, including text, images, sound, data, information, or software, that:

Termination and Cancellation

Microsoft reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to review and remove user-created services and content at will and without notice, and delete postings or ban participants that are deemed objectionable.

On the other hand is the question of whether this type of censorship is good for blogs. Isn't the whole point of blogging being able to express yourself? Plus, who exactly is determining if content meets these criteria? Is it individual people? A group of people? An automated engine that searches for certain criteria? What constitutes grounds for removing the blog (space)? Do users get any warnings?

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what type of content was being posted by Zhao Jing(Michael Anti). The limited information I've read seems to indicate that he pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable. Is that like Howard Stern on US Radio where he was fined by the FCC? I don't know. I'll publish any updates as I see more information on this.

"...is illegal or violates any local and national laws that apply to your location."

Seems to apply here, doesn't it? If the Chinese government (regardless of what you think of them) says one can't express a negative opinion about PRC relations with Tibet, it appears to this layman that such a post "violates national laws."

Regardless of your opinion of those laws, one shouldn't be shocked that they exist, nor that they are incorporated into the MSN Spaces Code of Conduct.

National sovereignty (and the laws associated) applies to the citizens and residents of that nation. As much as the rest of the world opposes the suppression of speech, until China changes, the laws are legal (and apparently enforced) and Microsoft is correct to determine that such posts violate the Code of Conduct.

Correct is not the same as right. I think it's wrong to supress opinion, but it's legally correct.
Thanks for the comment.

I do think that this whole thing was blown out of proportion. One of the reasons that I felt I needed to blog about this was because it seemed that all the blogs were so negative about MSN doing this while the Code of Conduct seemed quite clear that this type of censoring takes place.

Your opinion seems to back that up as well.

I'm still a bit concerned about *how* the censoring takes place, and *who* does it, but as I said, that's sort of a different topic.
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