MSN Joins Yahoo, Google In Facilitating Chinese Censorship

It’s only taken a few weeks for people to realize that MSN’s launch of a Chinese portal comes with explicit and implicit strings. MSN Spaces subscribers in the U.S. can’t use profanity; in China, the policy includes “democracy,” “freedom” and “human rights.” No dice for “Taiwan independence” and “demonstration.” AFP and others report that using one of those words in a post brings up the response: “This item should not contain forbidden speech such as profanity. Please enter a different word for this item.” Criticism is flowing fast and furious, with Microsoft joining Google and Yahoo as U.S. companies conforming to the Chinese government’s speech rules. (MSFT evangelist Robert Scoble is taking some heat for his stance.)
Personally, I’d be thinking of an alternative glossary right about now and you can bet plenty are already in use.
Update: MSN spokesman Adam Sohn tells AP the U.S. company and its Chinese partner are cooperating with the Chinese government on filters but “even with the filters, we’re helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships. For us, that is the key point here.”
Related:China Orders Blogs To Register With Government Or Face Shut Down
Microsoft Forms Chinese JV for MSN; Acquires Local Company

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