Google has blocked access in Egypt and Libya to the anti-Islamic video that has sparked violence in those countries, The New York Times reports.
The video is posted on YouTube, which Google owns. Google said it decided to block the video after a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in Libya. Officials for the search engine said exceptional circumstances led them to blocking the video. Normally, Google only removes content if it contains hate speech, violates the terms of service or if Google is responding to court orders or government requests.
Google has determined the video is not hate speech. According to the YouTube terms of service, hate speech is against individuals, not groups. Because the video goes after the Islamic religion, but not Muslims, it has been allowed to stay up in most of the world.
The move has some asking whether Google, or similar companies, be able to decide what is seen on the Internet. Peter Spiro, a constitutional and international law professor at Temple University, told the New York Times that there isn’t much that can keep Google from excluding this kind of material.