June 13, 2005 9:55 AM PDT

Microsoft blocking words on China's Web?

Microsoft may have banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from the Chinese version of its MSN Web site.

The MSN Web site is blocking anti-communist phrases by sending an error message to anyone using the words, in a bid to avoid upsetting the Chinese government, according to the Financial Times.

The message reportedly says: "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item." The words "demonstration," "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence" are also said to be banned.

Microsoft issued a statement via e-mail saying: "The content posted on member spaces is the responsibility of individuals who are required to abide by MSN's Code of Conduct, which can be viewed (here). MSN abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates."

Only the main part of the Web site is enforcing the ban; individualized MSN Spaces apparently are not affected.

The drama is the latest in a spate of moves by the Chinese government to censor certain areas of the Internet. Chinese officials are currently trying to make people register Web sites with the state by July or risk being shut down.

Microsoft partnered with a state-owned company, the Shanghai Alliance Investment, last month to create the Chinese arm of MSN.

Dan Ilett of Silicon.com reported from London.

5 comments

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All I can say
is MSN - fur queue
Posted by (409 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The truth shall set you free....
... except when MS is collaborating with the dictatorship.

Goebbels would have loved the phrase 'forbidden speech',
maybe he was the one who thought it up.

Anyhow, stupid attempts like this to control communications by
the Chinese government just proves the need for a new
government in China. After all, Mao was tossed once there
wasn't a serious enemy to fight. Now we have the Paranoid Party
in charge who quake at any mention of Taiwanese
independance, when they are already independant.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ANYTHING for a buck and marketshare
"Democracy" banned?
"Freedom"?!

A new low in coporate ethics.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not new but old
>>>A new low in coporate ethics.

Because Google and Yahoo did it before, what MS does is old low.
Posted by TanNg (31 comments )
Link Flag
This is sickening
Another corporation from the Land of the Free cooperating in censorship with the communist regime in China. Sickening! It's not very long ago that this would have been unheard of from an American company, and unacceptable in the view of American public opinion. But it seems that the trend toward profits over principals is continuing at a very fast pace.

It wasn't long ago, as well, that our own government finally caved in to pressure from the business sector to open trade with China without regard to protection of human rights. Previously the U.S. government had been adamant in the requirement for human rights protections, but eventually gave in to the constant $alavating by the business interests who kept saying, "But look at the size of that market".

And it's interesting, too, that when Apple announced that they are switching to Intel there were numerous c/net articles and hundreds of posts on these message boards. But this article so far has five posts. To borrow Roger Water's phrase, I think we've become "comfortably numb" in regard to concern for and standing up for human rights.
Posted by (61 comments )
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