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Google’s restricting of anti-Muslim video shows role of Web firms as free-speech arbiters

Google lists eight reasons on its “YouTube Community Guidelines” page for why it might take down a video. Inciting riots is not among them. But after the White House warned...that a crude anti-Muslim movie trailer had sparked lethal violence in the Middle East, Google acted. Legal experts and civil libertarians, meanwhile, said the controversy highlighted how Internet companies, most based in the United States, have become global arbiters of free speech, weighing complex issues that traditionally are the province of courts, judges, and occasionally, international treaty...Google said it decided to block the video in Egypt and Libya because of the “very sensitive situations there” and not because the White House requested it...For critics, the decision recalled Google’s former compliance with Chinese government restrictions on a wide range of content...[also refers to Facebook, Twitter]