Facebook blocks #resignmodi hashtag

Occurred: April 2021

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In April 2021, Buzzfeed reported that Facebook had temporarily hidden posts calling for the resignation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Posts with the hashtag #ResignModi had been labelled 'temporarily hidden' because 'some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards.'

The Prime Minister and his government had been widely criticised for the quality of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of Indians had died, many of them unnecessarily, it is thought. 

However, the platform had failed to disclose which Community Standards may have been breached, despite Facebook's stated commitment to transparency. Facebook subsequently reversed its decision shortly after Buzzfeed had published its story. 

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told BuzzFeed 'We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it.'

A few days before, Modi's government had ordered Twitter to block over 50 tweets that criticised how was handling the pandemic - a request to which Twitter complied, leading to accusations of censorship and criticism of the platform.

Operator: Meta/Facebook
Developer: Meta/Facebook

Country: India

Sector: Politics; Health

Purpose: Moderate content

Technology: Content moderation system
Issue: Freedom of expression - censorship

Transparency: Governance; Black box


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