Can Social Media Firms Censor All Reference to ‘Indian Variant’? | #socialmedia

Similar Curbs Issued Earlier

On Saturday, 24 April, reports said that the micro-blogging website Twitter had censored over 50 tweets that criticised the Modi government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

A review of the tweets, now withheld from viewing within India, shows that most of them only highlighted the issues India is facing amid the deluge of COVID-19, and criticised the government’s handling of the crisis.

Twitter’s filings with the Lumen database, a Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Centre initiative, indicated that the request to block these tweets came from the Centre.

The tweets included hashtags calling for the resignation of PM Modi and others comparing the handling of the Tablighi Jamaat controversy in light of the recent Maha Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, which has resulted in more positive cases, further pressuring India’s already burdened healthcare infrastructure during the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

Over 12,000 posts calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Facebook were blocked.

Several noticed that the hashtag #ResignModi had been blocked on Facebook and any Indian netizen looking for the hashtag was flashed with a notice saying that such posts had been “temporarily hidden here” as some content in those posts went against the website’s “Community Standards.”

While Facebook later restored the hashtag and said that it was removed “by mistake,” the Centre issued a statement saying that no such order was given by it to the social media giant.

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