MSN Messenger censors links

I love instant messaging, and it’s a tool I use daily in my work and for keeping in touch with people. My weapon of choice is MSN Messenger and it’s all I need to communicate with a lot of people. I know, I know, MSN Messenger isn’t that nice on Macs, but most Mac users have Audium instead, so I get away with using a specific client since they usually have accounts for all different IM services.

What has really made me mad recently is that I found out that Microsoft is filtering links sent with MSN Messenger, all in the best interest of the end user. The approach consists of plainly just removing links with the text such as “download.php”, so the person in the end doesn’t get the message, without any information that something was blocked. This approach is so poor and annoying I want to scream!

If you want to force people to download something, apparently you just have to name the page “WindowsUpdate.asp” and it will always get through every filter… And the thing is, your MSN messenger contacts are your friends that you have personally approved, you can’t them and their messages to spam.

I haven’t found any good article in English with an official statement from Microsoft, but in an article in the Swedish MagazineComputer Sweden , a spokeswoman given the title Responsible for Communication Services at Swedish MSN has made this statement:

For the moment, through a real time filtering technology, we are testing to deactivate certain links, parts of link strings and files that have names that can pose a threat to the users. […] is suspected, it’s then filtered by our servers and isn’t delivered to the recipient.

Please, Microsoft, listen: We don’t want to be your guinea pigs! Except for the laughable approach with string matching to see if anything they perceive as dangerous should be removed from a message, there are number of things you should see to right away if this is to stay in the product:

  • If a message is filtered in any way, the sender and recipient must be alerted about this.
  • It should be a setting if the filter should be applied.
  • The filter should, per default, be off.
Posted in General,Technology |

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