‘A hashtag calling for the resignation of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, was briefly blocked on Facebook on Wednesday, hiding more than 12,000 posts critical of the Indian government as the coronavirus pandemic spirals out of control in the country,’ reports Kari Paul in the Guardian.
‘As of 12.50pm PST, the hashtag was again accessible on Facebook from the US, and a Facebook spokesperson confirmed it had been restored after a brief outage that was accidental,’ she adds.
A spokesperson for Facebook has been quoted as saying, ‘We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it.’
This comes in the wake of reports that the Indian government has asked social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, to remove content and posts that were spreading misinformation and public panic around the pandemic.
Reports citing Lumen database (an independent research project studying cease and desist letters concerning online content) suggested that more than 50 posts — including those by a member of Parliament, MLA and filmmakers — were removed by Twitter on government request.