Facebook has a major impact on college athletics. Reuters

Even as Indian internet users are fuming over the government's proposal to screen the content on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo, Facebook has said that it recognizes the government's interest to minimize the abusive content online.

Telecoms and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal met executives from Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Monday, asking them to screen derogatory, defamatory and inflammatory content on religious figures and Indian leaders.

Responding to the new development, Facebook said in a statement: "We want Facebook to be a place where people can discuss things freely, while respecting the rights and feelings of others, which is why we have already have policies and on-site features in place that enable people to report abusive content. We will remove any content that violates our terms, which are designed to keep material that is hateful, threatening, incites violence or contains nudity off the service. We recognise the government's interest in minimizing the amount of abusive content that is available online and will continue to engage with the Indian authorities as they debate this important issue".

However, other social media sites like Google, Yahoo and Twitter have not responded to the intervention of the Indian government.

Meanwhile, the move of the government to screen the content of the social networking sites has been criticized by internet users, alleging that it is an infringement of freedom of expression.  Kapil Sibal clarified that he was not promoting censorship but asking for self regulation but that didn't stop internet users from criticizing him. On Tuesday, the hashtag #IdiotKapilSibal is one of the top Twitter trends in India.