Sunday, January 08, 2006

Is Rupert Murdoch Censoring MySpace Users?

(The Independent) by Nicholas Wapshott
Angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website for young adults, are accusing Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites.

The 38 million subscribers to MySpace, which News Corp bought for $629m (£355m) last July, discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens.

The intervention by News Corp in the traditionally open-access world of the web - in particular the alteration of personal user profiles - provoked a storm of angry posts in online "blogs".

"This is soooo like Fox and News Corp to try and secretly seal our mouths with duct tape," wrote "Alex" to Blog Herald.

The protests gathered pace, and when 600 MySpace customers complained and a campaign began to boycott the site and relocate to rival sites such as Friendster, Linkedin, revver.com and Facebook.com, News Corp relented and restored the links.

However, MySpace managers promptly shut down the blog forum on which members had complained about the interference. An online notice said the problem was the result of "a simple misunderstanding". (read more)

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