As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage and the COVID-19 caseload makes global records, Opposition leaders and critics have busied themselves hitting out at the Centre. But as many across social media platforms called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resignation, Facebook had a rude surprise waiting.
On Wednesday, eagle eyed critics took to Twitter lamenting about censorship on the Mark Zuckerberg helmed platform. Going by the many screenshots and complaint that were shared, users had found themselves blocked from using the hashtag "Resign Modi" for potentially "going against community standards". And while the company later backtracked, many remained wholly unconvinced. As the outraged comments grew in volume, some also brought up the 2020 controversy involving the BJP and Ankhi Das, Facebook's top public policy executive in India at the time.
As per reports, the move to block the hashtag in turn means that around 12,000 posts criticising the Central government would also have been hidden. This incident comes mere days after Twitter faced flak for removing "fake news" posts flagged by the Centre.
Facebook however claims that the move was unintentional. Reportedly, the hours-long block had been an error that had since been rectified. "We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it," a company spokesperson was quoted as saying.
But while Facebook may be hoping for the controversy to blow over, Twitterati remain busy trolling the company and tweeting criticism of the Centre. The contentious hashtag calling for Modi's resignation continues to trend on its microblogging rival. Presently it is the number one Twitter trend in India, with more than 120 thousand posts. And a far less flattering hashtag that dubs Facebook as being "anti-India" has gained momentum.