A BuzzFeed article highlighted the case of the #ResignModi hashtag and prompted Facebook to reverse its decision. Since then, users can again find posts using the hashtag. The incident received worldwide media attention, and several journalists took to Twitter to voice their outrage. Olivia Solon, the editor-in-chief of tech investigations at NBC News, and Indian journalist Shivam Vij both posted screenshots of the page blocking the hashtag.
#ResignModi hashtag restored
The #ResignModi hashtag has been restored on Facebook after it was temporarily blocked by the social media platform. The social media giant was recently criticized for allegedly being biased against India’s Narendra Modi government, violating its hate speech policy. While Facebook’s response disputed these allegations, it’s still a good place to start. But is it enough to restore the hashtag? And, how can India’s social media platform be trusted again?
On Tuesday, Facebook temporarily blocked content containing the #ResignModi hashtag, despite government requests that the content be taken down. The outrage followed the discovery that the hashtag was barred by accident. Facebook blocks hashtags for many reasons. It’s not clear why it blocked the #ResignModi hashtag – but it’s likely linked to content that satirizes the Indian prime minister.
The removal of the #ResignModi hashtag has rekindled discussions about the modi government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in India. Facebook blocked the hashtag following complaints by netizens on the viral infection. In response, Facebook’s spokesperson Andy Stone said the social media giant was “investigating” the incident. Ultimately, he said, “We are restoring access to #ResignModi” after revealing that it was a mistake and not a request from the government of India.
Facebook’s move to remove the #ResignModi hashtag was a result of a BuzzFeed report and the ensuing social media attention. The social media giant reportedly deleted 12,000 posts related to Modi, but this did not prevent users from accessing them in other countries. The move has also caused Facebook to examine its community standards. In an attempt to maintain its community standards, the social media giant blocked the hashtag based on the content.
The shutdown of the #ResignModi hashtag was the latest in a string of controversial decisions regarding freedom of expression in India. The social media giant’s recent decisions regarding the use of the #ResignModi hashtag have caused widespread outrage in the Indian political arena. Facebook had previously blocked the controversial #ResignModi hashtag, but has since restored it hours later. The controversial move came just as the last phase of the West Bengal elections was underway.
But in the midst of this crisis, the social media giant has a radically different approach. As a result, the #ResignModi hashtag has been restored to Facebook after a Wall Street Journal report revealed that a top policy employee who had connections to Modi’s BJP resigned after sharing an anti-Muslim Facebook post. The policy employee argued that the purity of religion and Shariah matter more than anything else.
India enacts new regulations on social media
The new rules require social media intermediaries to appoint chief compliance officers who must be Indian citizens. These individuals will have to make monthly reports to the government on compliance with the new regulations. The new rules also require news portals and streaming platforms to categorize their content based on age, themes, tone, and impact. The government welcomes criticism, dissent, and users’ right to speak out.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have the most users in India, with approximately 410 million monthly active users. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology drafted the new rules after consultation with a variety of stakeholders, including WhatsApp. WhatsApp did not object to the requirement to trace the first originator of content, but sought to extend the timeframe for its enforcement. The government did not explicitly state that the new rules will not affect WhatsApp, but it did state that the company had to comply with the guidelines or be removed.
As a result, some social media platforms have filed legal challenges challenging the new rules. While social media platforms are legally required to abide by the new rules, the government wants to exercise more control over them. The new regulations will turn social media companies into state-controlled media platforms. However, some critics say the new regulations may infringe on freedom of expression. Regardless of the outcome of the court case, the new regulations are an important step in the right direction.
The new regulations will prevent large social media companies from hiding behind end-to-end encryption. Instead, they must take steps to remove content containing non-consensual sexual activity, obscenity, or child abuse. The government frames the new rules as a means to protect its sovereignty and security. The new rules will make it harder for social media companies to hide behind end-to-end encryption, which allows them to protect their customers from illegal content.
In an attempt to combat terrorism, India has enacted sweeping new regulations for digital media. These regulations include requiring traceability of encrypted messages and creating local offices for law enforcement and user grievances. The new regulations also require social media companies to make their interfaces more appealing to verified users. Furthermore, they will have to establish automated tools for content filtration, and inform users if their accounts have been banned.
The government aims to maintain public order, national security, and peace through these measures. However, there are legitimate concerns that the government is using disproportionate means to achieve its goals. While these measures may not be illegal, they do not allow the freedom of speech to be thwarted. Local alternatives will likely comply with the government’s writ, which could hamper the ability of digital publishers to do their jobs.
Union government orders U.S. companies to block posts critical of officials
In a recent court case, the Union government ordered U.S. companies to block posts critical of public officials, including its chief executive, on their social media accounts. This order came on the heels of a recent ruling in which the court ruled that blocking comments on President Trump’s Twitter account is an infringement of his First Amendment rights. The ruling, which was unanimous, also ruled that blocking posts by critics of the president on his Twitter account is infringing upon the First Amendment rights of both Hikind and Saladino, who founded the Americans Against Anti-Semitism. Ocasio-Cortez used the term “concentration camps” in a tweet.