Microsoft's new MSN Spaces policy states that the company will remove content only when it "receives a legally binding notice from the government indicating that the material violates local laws" or when the content violates MSN contract terms. When it does take down content, it will only be done in the country issuing the order, and the company said it will also "ensure that users know why that content was blocked."
"We really felt a need to step back and make sure that we are being thoughtful," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a telephone interview from Lisbon, Portugal, where the new policy was announced at a forum for government leaders.
The move follows a torrent of criticism that was directed at Microsoft after it removed an MSN Spaces blog posted by Chinese journalist Zhao Jing, also known as Michael Anti.
Even some within Microsoft, including corporate blogger Robert Scoble, had spoken up in Anti's defense.
Many companies would have fired employee bloggers for insubordination. Microsoft listened. Well done Microsoft.