- Microsoft Shuts Blog’s Site After Complaints by Beijing (and later recants)
- Google to Censor China Web Searches (and provides their rational)
- Online game warns gay-lesbian guild (and provides their rational)
All of these articles deal with a fundamental business issue: As companies depend more and more on audiences that are taken from the entire cultural gamut our world has to offer, how do they deal with the conflicting political and social issues that invariably result?
Unfortunately I don’t have much of a point to make here. These issues are each complex in their own way, and there is no obvious “right” answer. Although, to be candid, the Idealist in me is screaming, “Just act your conscience!”. But the Realist also understands that slow change from within is sometimes the only change that can be had.
I do find it interesting that these companies are able to put a real $$$-value on the cost of taking the moral high ground – and, for better or worse, make their decisions accordingly. It gives one pause, and leads to speculation about whether or not this is a good thing. And whether or not there might be some lessons here that apply to individual ethics.