The Anti-Microsoft war.

On New Year’s eve, Zhao Jing a.k.a Michael Anti, an out-spoken Chinese Journalist found his blog taken down. Note the words “TAKEN DOWN”. Not censored, not blocked, but TAKEN DOWN.[Rebecca’s post ]( 3rd of January, brought Microsoft’s high-handedness to the notice of the world. Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of [Global Voices Online](, and a research fellow at [Berkman Center for Internet and Society](, quotes:> “Anti is one of China’s edgiest journalistic bloggers, often pushing at the boundaries of what is acceptable”

And it does not end here. MSN Spaces continues to support the communist Government of China (the Peoples Republic?) to censor anti-China blogs.

Rebecca had already found MSN Spaces censoring controversial titles. Words like “Falun Gong”, “Tibet Independence” received error messages saying the language was forbidden. Huh? However, a post containing inane words in the title and the controversial words in the body was accepted but was taken down within three days of its publishing. This proved that there was a human editor behind the systematic search-and-destroy operation.

It was soon taken up by Robert Scoble of Microsoft who invited the wronged Chinese journalist to setup a guest blog on his personal. Among all this, it was heartening to see Robert Scoble of Microsoft stand by Rebecca . Scoble extended an invitation to Anti to blog on HIS site as a guest. It will be interesting to see what happens to Scoble’s blog if Anti does accept the invitation.

An update on Scoble’s blog states that MSN Spaces has woken up to the blogosphere’s outcry and is looking into this.

What is worrying is the arrogance shown by MSN Spaces. A blog was taken down simply because the Chinese Government would be offended. Words blocked because they are controversial. By blocking Anti’s blogs MSN Spaces has made a big mistake. The repercussions of this are sure to be heard far and wide…

But I sincerely doubt whether anything is gonna happen. The topic has already begun to die off. The blogosphere memory is short and restricted to the comments per post. As soon as a new post crops up the older one is forgotten. And along with it go all the sentiments and the outcry.

Here’s what I think will happen (in chronological order):

Day 1-5: The blogosphere will make a noise about the tyranny of Microsoft and MSN Spaces. Bloggers will make a hue and cry about Microsoft’s high-handedness.

Day 3-7: Some hopeful posts (like this one) will try and garner people to their blogs with the expectation of making it big in the Blogosphere.

Day 7-9: Discussions on the necessity of free speech in the Blogosphere will crop up. People will cook up stories on how Microsoft tried to censor their blogs.

Day 9-11: Another anagram/MS Easter Egg/whatever linking Bill Gates/Microsoft to the Devil will be found.

Day 12: Steve Rubel will post a funny incident involving a cat, a rabbit and his keyboard with pictures. It will soon be the most tagged item on, Flickr, Technorati and will rise to rankings for the keyword “bizarre”

Get the picture?