In the wake of violence that broke out in a northeastern state of India, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) have both indicated they are cooperating with a request from authorities in that country to block and remove what the government calls “inflammatory and hateful” content from their affiliated web sites after some rumors posted on those- and similar – web sites caused thousands to flee several cities in a mass exodus.
The mass exodus was sparked by comments on social-media sites run by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Twitter, that called for retaliation against those responsible for communal violence in Assam, where nearly 80 people died in violence committed in the northeastern city. Monday, India authorities shut down nearly 250 Web pages that contained distorted – or “creatively edited” – video clips that were used to paint an inaccurate picture of the violence, authorities said, and fueled the rumors.
Authorities in the country have requested that the companies that host these Web sites – including Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) – conduct their own searches and block or remove pages that included content that may incite future disruptions, and Facebook and Google have both acknowledged that they received the request and are taking action.
“…a lot more and quicker action is expected from them (social-networking sites) to address such a sensitive issue which concern restoring peace, harmony, public order and national security,” India’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement.
In response, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) said in a statement, “Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms.” And Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) responded similarly: “We understand the gravity of the situation… and continue to work closely with relevant authorities.”
Both Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), with their actions this week, seem to show compassion for human life and seeks to do the responsible thing. This looks good to investors in each of these companies, especially hedge funds. Among the Google investors are Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, and Facebook interests include Chase Coleman of Tiger Global Management LLC.