Facebook briefly blocked a hashtag calling for the resignation of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indian users took to Twitter to vent their dissatisfaction with the social media platform, which reportedly blocked over 12,000 posts bearing the hashtag #ResignModi.
— Dr. Srinivas MD (@srinivasaiims) April 28, 2021
Anyone searching for the hashtag was greeted with a missive stating that such posts were “temporarily hidden here” because “some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards”.
Access to posts was later restored with a mea culpa from the social media giant, saying that they had been blocked by mistake.
“We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
The restored posts paint a grim picture of the pandemic in India. News cases are reportedly up to 360,000 per day, hospitals are filled to capacity with patients who are dying, and a leaked document to Reuters states that authorities are reportedly aware that the bodies of those the virus has claimed are being dumped in rivers.
Facebook’s latest mistake
This isn’t the first time Facebook has claimed to have made a mistake of this magnitude. Earlier this year its standoff with the Australian government over proposed legislation that would force the social media platform to pay media outlets for news linked to on its platform, resulted in a partial blackout Down Under.
Australian users woke up to find that not only could they not share news on the platform, but they couldn’t access or share news, they couldn’t even access Australian government agencies — the state health department among them — charity organisations and community pages.
Facebook later restored access to many of these pages, claiming that they had been blocked by mistake.
You’d think the social media platform would have learned from such mistakes by now…