#ResignModi Trends on Social Media

Hours after blocking posts containing ‘#Resign Modi’ hashtag, Facebook claimed it was an inadvertent error and not done at the behest of the government.

Currently the number of COVID cases in India are rapidly increasing. People are dying because there is a shortage of oxygen, medicines and hospital beds. Amidst all this, people in India are very angry and blaming PM Modi for not handling the situation properly. People on Facebook were very angry and started criticizing the Modi government and demanded that PM Modi must resign. The hashtag #ResignModi was trending on Facebook. Subsequently Facebook blocked posts on that hashtag, creating a controversy. 

USA’s Wall Street Journal was the first news company to share the news about the blocking of the posts with the hashtag. Soon after BuzzFeed News said, people in the USA, Canada & the UK could a simply search #ResignModi  on FB and they were able to view the posts. But people in India were not able to see these posts. The posts remained hidden for about three hours in India. When this news went viral, people became very angry. Some said that the Indian Government is working with FB to block the hashtag. International news companies and journalists shared this news on social media and said that the Indian government is censoring posts on social media. Immediately after this, FB unblocked the hashtag and people were able to see the posts again. 

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said, ““We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to. We have now restored the hashtag.” He also said that, “#ResignModi were “temporarily hidden” because “some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards.” 

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology shared a statement on the Koo app saying, "A story by Wall Street Journal attributing removal of a certain hashtag by Facebook to GOI‘s efforts to curb public dissent is misleading on facts and mischievous in intent. The Government has not issued any direction to remove this hashtag. Facebook has also clarified that it was removed by mistake."