Google will now block posts or blogs from being available to users based on a country’s local laws, in a move similar to Twitter’s country-specific censorship that sparked off an outrage among critics across the globe.
Web critics have slammed the move saying, ‘the change marks a new trend in the Internet companies bowing to the demands of authoritarian regimes’.
Google, however, claimed that the move would actually allow more freedom of speech, The Daily Mail reports.
The search giant said the blogs would be visible from everywhere else in the world, but invisible in one country.
“This will allow us to continue promoting free expression while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests in local law,” the company said.
According to the paper, both Google and Twitter claimed that their move would simply allow their services to co-exist with regimes, rather than being banned outright.
“We believe that access to information is the foundation of a free society. Where content is illegal or breaks our terms of service we will continue to remove it,” the paper quoted a Google spokesperson, as saying.
Google’s blogging service named Blogger was launched in 1999, and has previously been banned outright in repressive regimes such as Syria, Iran and China.
Blog services and social sites such as Twitter and Facebook were crucial to the recent ‘Arab Spring’ revolts in countries such as Egypt, acting as a conduit for news and carrying messages of freedom and democracy.