Earlier hashtag #ResignModi, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was dropped by Facebook. When the users tried to view the hashtag they saw a message saying that Facebook was temporarily hiding the post in order to keep the community safe.
After the incident, a Wall Street Journal report alleged that this temporary blocking of the hashtag #ResignModi was an attempt to silence people’s voices. Now, the government has issued a statement clarifying that Government did not ask social media platform to take down the hashtag and claimed reports to be misleading and mischievous.
“A story by Wall Street Journal attributing removal of the certain hashtag by Facebook to GOI’s effort to curb public dissent is misleading on the facts and mischievous in intent,” said government. “Government has not issued any direction to remove this hashtag. Facebook has also clarified that it was removed by mistake” further added in the statement.
The hashtag and post are now restored and Facebook claims that #ResignModi was blocked by mistake. The company has clarified that the government did not ask them to remove any post.
“We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it,” the company said.
The government of India also accused the Wall Street Journal of spreading fake news and gave the example of a similar incident. On 5 March 2021, Wall Street Journal has published fake news with the heading ‘India Threatens Jail for Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter Employees.’
The government claimed this story to be fake and manufactured.
Further in the statement, the Government of India said media has an important role to play in the pandemic, which will multiply the efforts of front-line workers and medical professionals. Indian government urged the media to partner with the people of India during the battle against the pandemic.