Internet freedom is the subject of debate all over the world and governments are struggling to regulate the online world in a way that keeps users safe without compromising the freedom of expression that the internet provides.
Who is responsible for what is posted on the internet also varies from country to country, causing confusion as shambolic court cases attempt to uphold new laws that often people are either unaware of or don’t fully understand. The whole world has embraced the internet, but now it’s attempting reign in the unlimited access to anything and everything.
The lines are somewhat blurred when it comes to what is acceptable in people’s online and offline lives. To many internet users it’s ok to illegally download movies, but they would never dream of stealing DVDs from a store; an affair in a virtual world ‘doesn’t count’ but adultery in their day-to-day life would be scandalous; voicing controversial and offensive opinions in a forum is deemed totally acceptable to people who wouldn’t speak up at a dinner party for fear of a negative reaction; and to many cyber-bullying is nowhere near as harmful as what takes place in the playground or workplace. Even pornography seems to have lost its stigma if it’s viewed on a computer instead of a top-shelf magazine.
This is what scares governments all over the globe – that society will take a dramatic downward spiral caused by the moral confusion created by the internet, and this is why the conundrum of internet freedom is one to which no one seems to quite hold the answer yet.
The lack of clarity surrounding global internet laws is a point of contention for social networks and search engines that find themselves in hot water in one country for something which is perfectly legal in another. An example of this is the lawsuit currently facing Google in India. The internet search giant is at the centre of a defamation case claiming that Google is liable for offensive comments posted by a user on Blogspot.com.
Grey areas and blind spots in such modern laws and the interpretation of them could potentially have a huge impact on all the main social networks. In the case of India’s attempt to regulate and censor the internet there have been a number of changes in the last few years alone:
In 2008 India passed the Information Technology Act that allows increased censorship.
In 2009 India changed its laws to make internet companies liable for any offensive content posted on their site.
In 2011 the Indian government asked Google and other companies to moderate User Generated Content (UGC) and remove anything defamatory or ‘objectionable’.
Also in 2011, Google lost a case in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and appealed to the higher court saying it has no control over what users post online.
In 2013 Google chairman Eric Schmidt made an appeal to the Indian government to give up on internet censorship.
As India tightens its grip on social media, users face fines and prison sentences for social media posts such as tags, likes and comments. While the managers of internet companies face the same harsh punishments for failing to delete such posts promptly. If Google loses this case it will be held responsible for all criminal activity that takes place on its network, forcing them and others including Facebook and Twitter to monitor and moderate every post and comment all of the time – something which has been described as ‘humanly impossible’.
And it is humanly impossible to monitor millions of posts in a multitude of languages, non-stop, 24/7, but it’s not impossible for a social media management and moderation company like Crisp Thinking. In this time of rapid change and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for global brands to protect themselves from any legal risks.
Crisp Thinking is the expert in protecting brands against the risks of Social Media and User Generated Content threats and moderates rather than censors in order to make the internet safe whilst also preserving internet freedom.
Used by hundreds of global brands, Crisp manages and moderates over 3 billion pieces of UGC in over 50 languages every month. Our 24/7 Social Media Moderation service intelligently combines patented natural language processing technology and expert human moderators to offer the highest guaranteed level of online brand protection. Pre-integrated into all the main Social Platforms, our 24/7 Social Media Moderation service delivers faster, higher quality moderation than any other solution or service available today,
Here at Crsip Thinking we understand that it’s difficult to keep up to speed on legal developments all over the world, so as a global brand it’s vital that offensive content is removed as quickly as possible to avoid any potentially devastating legal action against your company. When it comes to online brand protection it’s definitely much better to be exceptionally safe than extremely sorry.