Microsoft removed the blog of Chinese journalist Zhao Jing, also known as Michael Anti, from its MSN Spaces on New Year's Eve, according to investigative journalist Rebecca Mackinnon, reports CNET. The blog was apparently not blocked by Chinese authorities; rather, it was entirely removed by Microsoft, which cited its policy of adhering to local (in this case China's) laws. However, "why a site believed to be hosted in the United States has to comply with Chinese law" is still at issue, according to the CNET article.
"Microsoft is a multinational business and, as such, needs to manage the reality of operating in countries around the world," Microsoft is quoted as saying. In June 2005 Microsoft admitted censoring words such as "freedom" and "democracy" from its Chinese MSN portal.
Microsoft's in-house blogger, Robert Scoble, offered Anti the opportunity to blog via his site. "Guys over at MSN: Sorry, I don't agree with your being used as a state-run thug," Scoble is quoted as saying.
"It's one thing to pull a list of words out of a blog using an algorithm. It's another thing to become an agent of a government and censor an entire blogger's work."
Or one might say it's just more of the same.