When Facebook users tried to watch the hashtag ResignModi calling for Narendra Modi to resign, They saw Instead, a message says Facebook is temporarily hiding posts in order to keep the community safe.
This came days after Facebook, along with Twitter, complied with an order from New Delhi to censor some posts critical of the Indian government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
With more than 450 million WhatsApp users and nearly 400 million Facebook users, India is the social company’s largest market by the size of its user base.
Facebook has now taken back the posts, and said the hashtag was blocked by mistake.
The social media platform stated that the ban on the tag did not happen because the Indian government asked Facebook to remove it, but rather that the ban was a result of some of the content that was used within the tag, but it did not specify the type of content.
The temporary suspension of the tag is likely to raise concerns about the influence the BJP is exercising on Facebook and social media operations in general.
Last weekend, the Twitter platform cached tweets critical of several officials after receiving an emergency order from the government.
India is currently experiencing another wave of Coronavirus cases, resulting in a shortage of critical medical supplies.
Several Facebook posts that contain the hashtag ResignModi contain references to the Coronavirus.
Facebook has banned hashtags in the past, blocking the StopTheSteal hashtag from appearing during the 2020 US elections, causing a message to users similar to the one in India today.
The Qanon hashtag has also been banned, as part of Facebook’s struggle against the conspiracy-based social movement.
And unlike ResignModi, StopTheSteal and Qanon are still banned, with the message indicating that the content is against community standards.
The platform’s policies in India have been a problem for the parent company in recent months, forcing the head of Facebook’s India policy to resign after months of mounting pressure from activists.
Activists accused the Facebook platform in India of failing to amend the hate speech that led to anti-Muslim massacres in Delhi, at the direction of the resigned official.
There were wider concerns that its overt alliance with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had led to unfair enforcement of Facebook policy.