Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), the No. 1 search engine, said it's blocked access to the controversial video "Innocence of Muslims" on YouTube in countries with large Muslim populations, including India, Libya, Egypt to cool down sentiments over its contents.
As well, the government of Afghanistan, also a majority Muslim country, has blocked the entire YouTube website in reaction to the anti-Muslim U.S.-made video. Muslims demonstrated against the anti-Muslim production in Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait and Israel on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath.
Google, of Mountain View, Calif., operates YouTube, where the video was first downloaded on July 2.
"Innocence of Muslims" only achieved global notoriety this week after demonstrations in the Muslim world included the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
"What's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere," Google said in a statement. "This video - which is widely available on the web - is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube."
Instead, Google said it had "restricted access" to the video temporarily.
In Afghanistan, a representative of the Ministry of Communications said YouTube had been "banned" in the country until "Innocence of Muslims" was removed.
In many countries, national communications departments own and operate the entire communications system, including Internet access. They are often the sole providers of Internet service.
Google discloses that YouTube has "hundreds of millions" of users who upload 48 hours of video every minute, resulting in nearly eight years of content uploaded daily. Google acquired YouTube, of San Bruno, Calif., for $1.65 billion in 2006.
Google shares traded at $709.69, up $3.64 in Friday activity. They passed the $700 mark for the first time last Friday.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...