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Censorship Microsoft

Microsoft IM Blocking YouTube Links 364

Posted by kdawson
from the walled-playground dept.
A number of readers are sending word that the blogosphere and Twittersphere are alight with reports of Microsoft's new block on messages containing YouTube URLs. Both MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger reportedly implement the block. One blogger sniffed the network to discover that such messages receive a NAK from Microsoft's servers. Microsoft has been blocking messages by keyword, as an anti-phishing measure, for some time, but *.youtube.com would not seem to provoke much worry about phishing. Instead, as B.E.T.A Daily speculates, "This block seems to be related to the recent launch of Messenger TV in 20 countries which allows for sharing video clips from MSN Video on Messenger." Hard to get away with in an arena where you don't enjoy a monopoly.
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Microsoft IM Blocking YouTube Links

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  • First (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) *
    Well, this is clearly designed to prevent Rickrolls.

    In all seriousness, I've been sending YouTube links around (and receiving them) just fine. Dunno where the problem is.

    Of course, if bloggers and Twitter users say it, it MUST be true.
    • Re:First (Score:5, Funny)

      by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:02PM (#23361820) Journal

      Well, this is clearly designed to prevent Rickrolls.

      Well then gosh, we'd better block YouTube links everywhere. After all, won't someone think of the children? They could be scarred for life. :-)

    • Re:First (Score:5, Informative)

      by Roadstar (909257) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:14PM (#23361924)

      In all seriousness, I've been sending YouTube links around (and receiving them) just fine. Dunno where the problem is.

      Well, I tried both Adium and the official Messenger for Mac, and YouTube links got blocked on both of them.

      • by rob1980 (941751)
        Same on Trillian... dunno what this guy is talking about, or when the last time he tried was
        • Same on Trillian... dunno what this guy is talking about, or when the last time he tried was

          Joe Jay Bee (1151309) is either a microsoft fanboi or microsoft shill. Check out his previous comments. Also note how quickly he posted on this article. Some people live worthless lives as mercenary propagandists. I guess there is nothing any of us people who live meaningful lives can do about it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) *
            Dude, I'm a Mac user, not to mention one who has submitted a package to Debian (a trivial, fairly pointless one yes, but a package nonetheless). You obviously didn't look back far enough to tbe one I made a few hours ago where I said that I'd like to not use MSN but have no real choice.

            So yeah, not a shill, or a fanboi. :/
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aliquis (678370)
        One could always hope that would be enough to move people back to ICQ/AIM, not likely thought, sad enough.
      • by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:48PM (#23362178) Homepage Journal
        People with email@msn.com addresses never receive YahooGroups.com invites. I get them bounced back to me routinely.

        This IM blocking is just another reason to boycott msn.com, hotmail.com & live.com.

        [Of course, YahooGroups now adds spaces in URLs I try to send to my groups. I have to TinyURL everything these days.]
        • by BlueStrat (756137) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @02:43PM (#23362634)
          People with email@msn.com addresses never receive YahooGroups.com invites. I get them bounced back to me routinely.

          This IM blocking is just another reason to boycott msn.com, hotmail.com & live.com.

          [Of course, YahooGroups now adds spaces in URLs I try to send to my groups. I have to TinyURL everything these days.]


          Yahoo has been blocking Photobucket.com links for ages in Yahoo chat. This is nothing new. Seems like it's getting to be pretty much S.O.P. these days for large 'net-service companies that provide multiple services including IM/chatroom-type services. Just forbid URLs to competitions' websites and services from being communicated over your services, and to heck with what the user wants.

          Nevermind that most peoples' reactions that discover this that I've seen was anger, disgust, and frustration, along with a fierce determination to *never* use Flickr (Yahoos' photo/video upload service) just because of this stupidity, and even closing accounts there. Way to retain users, there, Yahoo!

          I'm waiting to see if it comes to the point that things like the MSN Messenger installer silently removes competing IM/chat service client software. Or when things like Yahoo Messenger blocks the installation of competing services' software, or refuses to install while that software is present, and/or adds entries to the hosts file, blocking access to competitors'websites and services.

          When will these corporations learn that users naturally tend to use multiple providers for any one function or service, and that these kinds of childish behaviors only alienates them?

          Cheers!

          Strat
  • Rickrolls (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:08PM (#23361870) Homepage Journal
    This is deeper than Rickrolls, folks. Microsoft has absolutely no reason to block an entire website because of such a phenomenon. However, there's not much of a way of getting around it other than using a URL shortening service or complaining like mad to MSN.

    It's reasons such as this that make me prefer AIM/ICQ and Jabber.
    • by quanticle (843097)

      Well, as far as AIM/ICQ goes, AOL controls all the servers for that protocol, so you're no better off than with MSN. AOL could choose to block all YouTube links tomorrow and you'd be just as out of luck on AIM/ICQ.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        Which is why ICQ used to be nice it the good old days, when messages were sent directly between users. The servers were only to log in and get the IP address of everyone else in your list. I'm not sure if there's still any messaging protocols that work this way. It makes much more sense, and keeps messages much more private.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      Well, yes young man, there is a reason for MS to block an entire website. We should remember the chair throwing that must have taken place when Google sort of White-knighted Yahoo recently. I'm reasonably sure that there are *SOME* MS employees who did not appreciate it.

      Of course, it could also (put your hat on) be someone related to Yahoo! who decided to make MS look bad? Not sure how, but it's the other side of the conspiracy coin.

      It's hardly good business to do this on purpose, and if it's an accident...
    • by aliquis (678370)
      What would be cool would be if all MSN-compatible clients except Microsofts rewrote all youtubelinks to something like http://www.messengersuckuseabetternetworksuchasicqaimorjabber.com/vatch.php?id= [messengers...jabber.com]... which then forwarded you to the correct video. Working links and you informed them. But then Microsoft would block that url to .. ;D
  • by Presence2 (240785) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:08PM (#23361876)
    It's Microsoft. "What can we get away with today?" Enough said.
    • by aliquis (678370)
      "You couldn't go there you wanted today!"

      "Where shall we take you today?"

      Or maybe the best one: "Where do we want you to go today?"
  • by AmonEzhno (1276076) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:10PM (#23361886)
    Refusing to carry the links of one of THE most popular web pages on whole internet seems like a poor business decision. If you can't share the links you want then many people are just going to switch.
    I mean who doesn't share youtube videos over IM?
    Sorry but this just seems ridiculous
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by heatdeath (217147)
      The only thing they use blocking for is viruses or other malware prevention. It's a poor system, granted, but they still only use it for that.

      I'm sure what happened was there was a virus reported that was using youtube profiles or video comments to spread, and somebody not very high up made a poor decision to just block everything from the domain.

      I'm also sure as soon as people higher up figure out what happened, it will get removed. =P
  • if you can. in almost EVERY sh@t microsoft pulled in the last 6 months, you have been inventing lots of excuses. what is the reasonable excuse for this ? why shouldnt google censor keywords like microsoft, windows, xp, vista now ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jeiler (1106393)

      nb: I use Microsoft products, but I'm not a "fanboi."

      what is the reasonable excuse for this ?

      I don't know that there's any excuse for this. it sounds damn-foolish to me.

      why shouldnt google censor keywords like microsoft, windows, xp, vista now ?

      Because the folks at Google aren't idiots?

      Like it or don't, Microsoft is the market--and though lately it sounds like they're doing everything possible to lose that position, they've got it for the time being. Why would Google block search terms for the

    • by aliquis (678370)

      why shouldnt google censor keywords like microsoft, windows, xp, vista now ?
      Because Google don't do evil(tm.)
  • A number of readers are sending word that the blogosphere and Twittersphere WTH is a Twttersphere? A new form on the R5 space?
  • by iamhigh (1252742) * on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:22PM (#23361980)
    If the best source of news you can find is a blog with two columns devoted to ads, more ad space in the page that actual content, and that awful attempt at "web 2.0" design, then you probably shouldn't post it to /., or at least not on the front page.
    • by Aranykai (1053846)
      Seconded. Dont bother with the articles, they dont have any more information than the summary.

      Why cant we go back to web 1.0? I actually liked being able to find information with a google search instead of using this tagging bullshit.
  • by ThreeGigs (239452) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:28PM (#23362028)
    deviantart.com
    googlepages.com
    mediafire.com
    ebuddy.com
    xanga.com

    Workaround: don't add the "http://" in front of the address.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Surprisingly no MS sites seem to have been blocked.
    • This is why I stopped using the official MSN client months ago, and swapped to pidgin, and now mostly Miranda IM (much lower resource use), if it really starts playing up as it's the servers blocking content and not the client then I can use the excellent OTR encryption plugin with those clients.

      I got sick of being told something along the lines of 'a network error has occured' when they were actually just blatantly blocking normal URLs for no reason.

      Remove http:/// [http] or www. from them and they go through ins
    • by AndGodSed (968378)
      The real uproar will come when slashdot gets blocked.
  • by Ariastis (797888)
    Thank you MS, for handicapping the only online service you had that i found useful. Now I can switch in peace...
  • The empire is striking back! Everyone, brace yourself!
  • by Ihmhi (1206036)

    Doesn't MSNM and YIM share a network now? Does Yahoo Instant Messenger block YouTube links as well? If not, why not just ditch MSNM completely and use YIM now that the networks work with one another?

  • by eiapoce (1049910) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @01:49PM (#23362188)
    Ms has the habit of getting into troube. This time they performed exceptionally well.

    We have a legislation here (italy) that state that tampering with electronic communications with the aim to impede or modify the contents of the messages is a felony. This is because the same legislation for standard mail has been applied to emails, phone conversations and IM.


    By my point of view MS is getting sacked really bad in EU. (And they fully deserve it!)
    • How is this insightful. By this retarded interpretation of the law, an IM that doesn't let me send you messages when you're marked "away" is breaking the law. Or one that doesn't let me send a .exe file as a link. Spam filters would break this law by your "logic". In short, your interpretation of the law is retarded.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MulluskO (305219)
        The answer to what you see as a problem is likely answered by the notion of "agency" or on whose behalf the software is acting.

        If the software blocks incoming messages at the behest of the recipient, as is the case with spam filtering and "do not disturb" type IM configurations, it's obvious that the software is acting as an agent for the user wherever the code is running.

        The law is cheifly concerned with the actions of men and not of the tools they use. This is the right way to do things.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by McD (209994)

      We have a legislation here (italy) that state that tampering with electronic communications with the aim to impede or modify the contents of the messages is a felony.

      I'd imagine the spammers and virus writers love that.

      If your ISP strips executable attachments from email, are they felons?

      If an email provider tacks on a signature block or advertisement, are they guilty as well?

      Sounds like a tricky thing to legislate, however well intentioned.

  • Hanlon's Razor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geckipede (1261408) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @02:02PM (#23362296)
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." I'm having a hard time believing that stupidity stretches this far. My guess is that the MSN block list is maintained automatically and somebody found a way to feed bad data into the system.
  • This is just another reason that people should be encrypting their chats with something like OTR [cypherpunks.ca] so that not only can companies not filter anything but they also can't see the content of your IMs.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @02:53PM (#23362718)
    Earlier today some youtube links were being blocked.

    Friend in Belgium alerted me to the issue, as trying to send a link across the room to her friend would even fail.

    After some investigation...

    It looks like it was a temporary error in the server response, so instead of saying yes, it would just deny the link out of default, suspecting an attack or a bot.

    The server responses are now working correctly and so are the links.

    Back to your tinfoil and OFFICIAL MS IS ALWAYS EVIL CLUB of the insane...

    PS - How come when Google/Firefox re-routes or blocks URLs, (in error or for questionable reasonss) it never makes it to the front of SlashDot?

    Get over MS, they dumped you or you them, they are your ex girlfriend, you have a new girlfirend(OS), quit stalking her... (Wait, bad analogy in a geek forum.)

    Star Wars Episode III screwed you, get over it... (Better analogy?)
    • Never seen Google or Firefox blocking an URL, but i read Google does something in China. So it is false that it doesn't make to the headlines.
      Truth is, i have never seen M$ blocking one either, but it is because i don't use M$ IM.
      • Here's a cute one:

        For quite a while, when you clicked a link from Google Search it rewrote the URL redirect and sent the information to Google...

        (Simple MouseDown JavaScript)

        It still may do this in Firefox, can't remember if this was totally removed after a few consumer group complaints or not. IE doesn't respect this type of redirect, and can't test at the moment.
  • As long as .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @02:53PM (#23362726)
    ... they don't block tinyurl.com.
  • by CSMatt (1175471) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @06:40PM (#23364620)
    Microsoft is trying to lessen the stupidity of YouTube comments by blocking the posters of said comments at the source.

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