#ResignModi was reinstated in a few hours.
Facebook temporarily blocked the #ResignModi hashtag for several hours amid India’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The government’s efforts weren’t enough to minimize the escalating COVID-19 cases and curbing public dissidence.
When users of this social media tried to view such hashtag calling for the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to resign, they saw Facebook’s message stating that it’s hiding the posts to keep the nation safe.
The posts were covered for at least three hours before they have been restored.
#ResignModi Hashtag Blocked by Mistake
Facebook explained that the block was done by mistake. It claimed that the Indian government didn’t ask them to remove it.
The block was merely the result of some content using the said hashtag. However, the social media platform in question didn’t specify the type of content that caused the ban.
The suspension may fuel concerns about the prime minister’s influence.
Twitter Also Banned Some Content in India
But it wasn’t just Facebook that blocked critical tweets in India. Twitter also concealed some tweets that criticize various officials after receiving an order from the Indian government.
The micro-blogging platform removed over 50 tweets critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic. It followed the request of the Indian government.
Twitter stated that it will censor certain tweets so they won’t be available to people in India. But these tweets will only be banned if they violate the local law.
Before withholding content, Twitter notified the account holders so they’re aware that the censoring was taken because of a legal request from the Indian government.
Twitter said that each time it received a valid legal request, it examines it to make sure that it meets Twitter rules and the local law.
If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, then it will be removed from the platform.
However, if the content is illegal in a certain jurisdiction but doesn’t violate Twitter Rules, the platform will withhold the content in India.
Twitter has already bowed to pressure from the Indian government in February. It blocked permanently over 500 accounts. It also removed other posts and hidden from people in Indian.
If the company would refuse to conceal and remove those posts, the Indian government would put Twitter’s employees in India in jail.
COVID-19 Cases in India
The country is seeing another wave, resulting in the scarcity of all critical medical supplies. Most of the posts on Facebook with #ResignModi include references to the pandemic.
During the 2020 US election, Facebook also blocked certain hashtags, like StoptheSteal. It also blocked Qanon, which is used to spread the message of a conspiracy-based social movement.
However, Facebook decided to permanently block the StoptheSeal and Qanon tags but the ResignModi tag has been restored after a few hours.
The policy chief of Facebook India has been called to resign after months of increasing pressure from activists in the country. The platform struggled to respond to the increasing threat of hate speech against Muslims.
Indian law limits the publication of material considered by the government to be defamatory or something that could incite violence.