The Union ministry of electronics and data know-how shared a press release on Koo app, India’s home different to Twitter, saying, “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.”
On Wednesday, a number of thousand posts carrying the hashtag had been unavailable on Facebook for a number of hours. When customers looked for the pattern, they had been redirected to a web page that acknowledged that the posts had been “against Facebook’s community standards”.
Responding to a tweet asking why the hashtag was blocked, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone mentioned round 1.10 am, “This hashtag has been restored and we are looking into what happened.” Around 5.30 am, in response to a different tweet, Stone mentioned, “Here’s more on what happened today: We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it.”
Several different worldwide information organisations, together with Guardian and Buzzfeed, additionally wrote about Facebook blocking the hashtag, which was the highest pattern in India via the day, garnering over 302k tweets.
An announcement shared by Facebook with TOI echoed Stone’s tweets.
Last week the federal government ordered social media giants to take down 100 ‘fake’ and ‘misleading’ posts and URLs round Covid-19. Pointing to rising cases of on-line censorship, cyber consultants mentioned archaic legal guidelines that limit the liberty of expression and speech wanted to be overhauled. “Laws that require confidentiality of takedown notices (such as Section 69A of the IT Act) should be repealed,” Mozilla Tech coverage fellow, Divij Joshi, advised TOI.
Social media corporations must also launch “meaningful information about content moderation, including what is removed and what is allowed to stay, through regular reports…They should provide reasons for removal especially to affected persons whose content is removed,” he added.