Orkut Removes Communities Supporting Indian Terrorists

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Google's social networking site Orkut has blocked access to a community on the site that supports the Indian Mujahideen, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for bomb blasts in various Indian cities including Delhi.

The community "Indian Mujahideen Fan Club" appears on a search of Orkut's communities. It says "Support them. They are fighting for our rights and justice". But if a user clicks on the community link, the page of the community "Indian Mujahideen Fan Club" is no longer available for viewing, as it is said to violate Orkut's terms of use.

Google strongly condemns illegal activities and those that encourage terrorism and violence, the company said in a statement. Once content is reported or flagged, Google reviews any community or profile against its terms of service and community standards that prohibit illegal activity, and if there are violations, it acts quickly to remove inappropriate content, it added.

The community had been blocked at the request of users, and not the country's law enforcement agencies, according to informed sources. It is not known when the Indian Mujahideen site was blocked on Orkut, and what content was found objectionable. Google was not available for further comment on this issue.

Another community on Orkut called "Indian Mujahideen" has not been blocked although the description of the community calls for support to the Indian Mujahideen, as "they are fighting for the justice and the enemies of Islam".

Indian police suspect that terrorists use the Internet and tools like e-mail, chat and social networking sites to plan terrorist attacks.

India has the third-largest number of users of Orkut, according to data on its Web site. Indian members of Orkut account for 17.3 percent of people using the social networking site, as against 51.3 percent from Brazil, and 17.6 percent from the US.

The social networking site has been frequently targeted by various groups in India protesting against political content that was found objectionable by them. It was sued in court in 2006, for example, by a lawyer objecting to content on Orkut which he said was inimical to the country.

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