Few Facebook posts demanding the resignation of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were temporarily shielded from public viewing in India by the famous social media platform. This new development occurs in a time when the country is grappling with the ongoing struggle against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic with its cases spiraling out of control with every passing day.
India attains the title of the second-worst COVID-19 affected country in the world with numerous reports of the lapses of the healthcare infrastructure coming to enlightenment. Critical shortages of the supply of pharmaceutical oxygen, hospital beds, and other crucial drugs for the treatment have been proclaimed throughout the country indicating severe incompetence in the administration and superintendence of the pandemic.
However, Facebook has now restored the posts. As the company has stated that the hashtag was blocked “by mistake” and claims it wasn’t because the Indian government asked Facebook to remove it. Facebook further informed that the block was the outcome of some of the content violated its community standards, and not because of any legal order.
As Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone commented, “We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it.”
Moreover, tweets with “#ResignModi”, at the time of publication, were viewable in India. With more than 450 million WhatsApp users and almost 400 million Facebook users, India is the largest market for social media platforms due to the size of the userbase. Last weekend, Twitter censored tweets critical of several officials after receiving an emergency order from the government.
Furthermore, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has shared a statement stating, “A story by Wall Street Journal attributing removal of a certain hashtag by Facebook to GOI ‘s efforts to curb public dissent is misleading on facts and mischievous in intent. Govt has not issued any direction to remove this hashtag. Facebook has also clarified that it was removed by mistake.”
Image Source: World Economic Forum