Facebook has come under widespread criticism for censoring posts critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of the latest pandemic after it became evident that the social media giant had blocked posts shared under hashtag #ResignModi on its platform. Faced with global outrage, Facebook later said that it had revoked the ban on the hashtag and posts had been restored.
While hashtag #ResignModi trended on Twitter, many users discovered that posts shared with the same hashtag were being blocked by Facebook. An attempt to search posts shared using hashtag #ResignModi led to a standard message from Facebook reading, “Keeping your community safe.”
The message by Facebook continued, “Posts with #ResignModi are temporarily hidden here. Some content in those posts are against our Community Standards.”
Soon users began to share the screenshot on Twitter tagging Facebook and demanding an explanation.
FB India is currently censoring posts calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister https://t.co/1PZjB5Q3Nm
— Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) April 28, 2021
Facebook is blocking posts with the #ResignModi around the world. It’s unclear why, and Facebook declined to comment on why it’s doing so.
We will update as we learn more.https://t.co/DjACbwfruG
— Ryan Mac???? (@RMac18) April 28, 2021
Today Facebook has censored all posts with the hashtag #ResignModi! Search for it, and it’s all censored.
Anyone think this would happen in a democracy? pic.twitter.com/eceWK5Sz1k
— Shivam Shankar Singh (@ShivamShankarS) April 28, 2021
Left red-faced, Facebook soon announced that it had restored all posts shared under hashtag #ResignModi. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted, “This hashtag has been restored and we are looking into what happened.”
This hashtag has been restored and we are looking into what happened.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) April 28, 2021
Angry Indians have taken to social media to express their anger against the Narendra Modi government as the second wave of the pandemic wreaked havoc across the country. Soon hashtag #ResignModi began to trend as reports of tens of thousands of death emerged with an alarming frequency. The Indian government was later found to have forced Twitter to remove certain posts critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Many felt that Facebook too had censored the hashtag #ResignModi to please the BJP government.
Facebook has been found to favour the BJP in the past when an American publication exposed the social media giant’s former India policy head Ankhi Das’ Islamophobia. Das had later resigned from her post.