Facebook has admitted its mistake of blocking #ResignModi posts before restoring them hours later. Several users complained that their posts calling for PM Modi’s resignation over the COVID crisis, had been taken down for ‘violating the community standards.’
The spiralling controversy over Facebook’s recent actions to block unlawful content, has enraged its users following the central government requests to remove social media content relating to COVID-19 posts.
The government in its efforts to curb the spread of misinformation and panic, had resorted to such extreme measures.
Facebook Admits the mistake
Nevertheless, Facebook has clarified that it was an unforced mistake and not a directive of the government. A company spokesperson later explained that the error was linked to the content of label and not the hashtag itself.
The new rules imposed by the government this year, have forced the hand of Facebook and Twitter to take down sensitive and unlawful content.
This has triggered a widespread cry on social media over lack of freedom of speech in the world’s largest democracy.
“WE TEMPORARILY BLOCKED THIS HASHTAG BY MISTAKE, NOT BECAUSE THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT ASKED US TO, AND HAVE SINCE RESTORED IT,” FACEBOOK’S POLICY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ANDY STONE TWEETED.
Union Government blocks Tweets
Earlier, the Union government had reportedly blocked around 50 tweets that invariably condemned the government’s lacklustre efforts in fighting COVID-19. The tweets carried the label ‘withheld in India owing to a legal demand.’
Many such posts and content were reportedly flagged by the government on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other websites in a bid to minimise chaos and panic among the public.
Surge in COVID-19 Cases
Of late, India has seen a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases while hospital beds, medicines and oxygen supplies are running out.
People have flooded social media with SOS messages and requests for oxygen, CT scans, doorstep COVID tests, food and medicine supplies for elderly in quarantine while reported daily infections have reached 3,00,000 cases.
The prevailing COVID crisis has stirred public outrage as the government’s efforts are found wanting.
The lawmaker’s actions to bring the pandemic under control have come under scrutiny while social media platforms continue to block misinformation and unlawful content linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This article first appeared on the NFA Post and is republished with permission