Video Game maker Rockstar’s newest gorefest, Manhunt 2, got the axe this week by the British Board of Film Classification. The ban prohibits the game’s sale in the U.K. America’s Entertainment Software Rating Board followed suit, classifying the game Adults Only - a rating big boxes like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target refuse to stock. While Rockstar is no stranger to controversy (the Grand Theft Auto oeuvre is a perennial cause célèbre for parent and religious groups), they certainly weren’t expecting this level of backlash, and they’re racing to save what was sure to be a blockbuster. Is the content of this game really so much worse than past offerings?
How much more frank is the language used in everyday advertising getting? Look, or listen, no further than a print, online and radio campaign for that most prosaic of products, Frank’s RedHot sauce. The theme of the campaign is “I put that ——— on everything.” In print and online ads, the missing word is covered with a splat that makes it look as if a censor spilled some sauce on the page. In the radio commercials, a loud bleeping sound is heard over the word.
Chinese Internet users have one less Web search option this week, but otherwise it's business as usual as the People's Republic of China uses technology and intimidation to keep citizens away from objectionable content. Following several months of strategizing and negotiations, Google finally stopped censoring its search results in China and is redirecting visitors to Google.cn to a server based in Hong Kong. There they see unfiltered results and are able to visit sites about Falun Gong, Tiananman Square, and Tibetan independence. As noble as the move might be on Google's part, it changes very little for the approximately 4 million Internet users in China who have lived with restrictions on their online and offline activities for decades.
This is a nation that builds dams, high-speed rail lines and skyscrapers with abandon. In newly muscular China, sheer force is not just an art, but a bedrock principle of its seemingly unstoppable rise to global prominence. Now China has tightened its grip on the much more variegated world of online information, effectively forcing Google Inc., the world’s premier information provider, to choose between submitting to Chinese censorship and leaving the world’s largest community of Internet users to its rivals. It chose to leave.
Don’t expect an army of web companies to rush to Google’s defense in China v. Google. The lines are drawn but Google will stand alone, according to internet law expert and Harvard Professor Jonathan Zittrain. Other companies, Zittrain argues, are too timid to go toe-to-toe with China, especially with the web’s biggest market at stake. That decision to remain neutral seems like a no brainer — at least from the short-term, dollars and cents perspective — but there’s an argument to be made that Google could eventually emerge as the victor.
As Google began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users on Tuesday to its uncensored Web site in Hong Kong, the company’s remaining mainland operations came under pressure from its Chinese partners and from the government itself. The Chinese government moved on Tuesday to block access to the Hong Kong site, the use of which Google had hoped would allow it to keep its pledge to end censorship while retaining a share of China’s fast-growing internet search market.
Google’s legal structure in China will allow the company to continue operations in the country even if it closes its local search engine, local employees and industry and legal experts say. The comments come amid frenzied speculation that Google is on the verge of carrying out its January threat to retreat partly or fully from China.
Google Inc. may pull out of China on April 10, China Business News reported today, citing an unidentified Chinese sales agent for the company. The search engine may announce its exit on March 22, the Shanghai-based newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Google China employee. It may also reveal plans for its China workforce on the same day, according to the report.
Google's likely shutdown of its Chinese-language Google.cn search engine, the main portion of its China operation, isn't good news for marketers and their ad agencies -- but it hasn't fazed them about business opportunities for multinational companies in the mainland, either. "Google came into this country with their eyes wide open and knowing censorship would happen," said Shanghai-based Arto Hampartsoumian, CEO, China at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
If Google Inc. decides to close the door on its search engine in China, it might open a door for Microsoft Corp. The software giant's Bing search engine is among the potential beneficiaries if Google goes ahead with its threat to close its Google.cn site amid a dispute with the Chinese government over censorship. Although Bing has struggled to gain traction in China, Microsoft has already hired away at least three people from Google's China business, after aggressively pursuing them following Google's threat, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Google Inc. appears increasingly likely to shutter its Chinese-language search engine, a step that would remove one of the last major foreign players from the world's most populous and fastest-growing Internet market. A person familiar with situation said on Saturday that Google is likely to take action within weeks. Separately, Chinese authorities on Friday told local news Web sites that Google's Chinese site is likely to close and that, if it does, the news sites will be required to use only official accounts of the situation, rather than publish stories from anywhere else, according to a person familiar with the order.
A top Chinese minister warned Google Inc. "will have to bear the consequences" if it stops filtering its search results in China, suggesting there is little room for compromise in the high-profile showdown over censorship. Friday's remarks were the sharpest words yet in an unusual duel that could set a precedent for international business in the country and could escalate tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments.
Two months ago, Google threatened to shut down its China search engine over censorship. Yet until today, its China search engine has stayed up with results still censored. Now the search company is finally expected to announce that it’s going to actually follow through and slowly shut down its China search engine. So why does it feel like Google’s impending decision will not have the impact it could have had two months ago?
Few people say they think Google’s Chinese-language search engine will survive the company’s confrontation with China. But as Google prepares for talks with the Chinese government over its decision to stop cooperating with censorship laws there, the rest of Google’s business and operations in China hangs in the balance
Google's recent turmoil in China has prompted the company to halt the launch of two Android smartphones in the Chinese market. The company told Dow Jones Newswire on Tuesday that it has indefinitely postponed the Chinese debut of two mobile phones manufactured by Samsung and Motorola. The phones, which were to be sold by provider China Unicom, were initially set to hit China on Wednesday.
Normally China's internet censorship is a topic of hot interest for the Human Rights crowd at the State Department, but the fate of Google.cn in China should be watched closely by marketers, too. If the search site does disappear from the mainland, more is at stake than just paid search opportunities. Google is a key player in drawing advertisers to online media. The web -- and particularly the growing number of social networks -- have found the U.S. company to be a key catalyst for online marketing efforts.
While China’s censorship policies are prompting Google to consider quitting its operations in the country, some technology companies see the restrictions as a golden business opportunity. More than a million people in China, including human rights activists and expatriates, are using special software to circumvent the nation’s complex online censorship system, known as the “Great Firewall.” This has created a booming market for software companies, which are capitalizing on the growing desire of China’s Internet users to fanqiang, or scale the wall, to visit Web sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
Google’s stunning declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country ricocheted around the world Wednesday. But in China itself, the news was heavily censored. Some big Chinese news portals initially carried a short dispatch on Google’s announcement but that account soon tumbled from the headlines and later reports omitted Google’s references to “free speech” and “surveillance.”
I came across this video by Laura Ross in my Facebook. It seems that YouTube suspended her account for reasons unknown and unexplained to her. What follows is quite an interesting video about the nature of free speech, discourse, dissent, profanity, and the censorship of our voice.