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Instagram and Facebook unblock hashtag ‘Sikh’, say it was ‘mistakenly blocked’ since March

"We became aware that these hashtags were blocked today following feedback we received from the community, and quickly moved to unblock them. Our processes fell down here, and we’re sorry," Instagram said in a statement.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
June 4, 2020 4:01:54 pm
Instagram, facebook, sikh blocked instagram, hashtag sikh blocked, sikh blue star anniversary, indian express, tech news “Some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards,” the warning message read.

Social media platforms Instagram and Facebook drew flak after the hashtags #Sikh and #Sikhism were blocked on both platforms. Although a worldwide campaign, which alleged bias by the company started only on Wednesday, the company while apologising for the ‘mistake’ admitted it had been blocked for almost three months.

The company in a statement said it first became aware of the hashtag being blocked on Wednesday, after feedback from members of the Sikh community. Instagram unblocked the hashtag soon after, but it Facebook several more hours to do the same.

The incident came to light when many Sikh people wanted to post about the anniversary of Operation Blue Star.

Sikh politicians, artists and celebrities began tagging the two platforms and complained about what they said was discriminatory behaviour.

Following outrage, Instagram said it was unclear how exactly the block was imposed and how it took so long for the company to realise.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, replied to one such tweet saying, “Not sure what’s going on here, but we’re looking into it and will circle back. Thanks for calling it out.” Soon after, the hashtag was restored on Instagram. He also later added that they are ‘investigating why this happened.”

However, many were upset that the hashtag had been blocked since March 7 and the tech giants had failed to realise this. Many demanded an explanation for why it happened in the first place.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been facing criticism after he decided not to act against posts by US President Donald Trump which many felt were an incitement to violence. Many Facebook staffers have openly criticised the decision and some have even reportedly left the company. Rival Twitter has been labelling some of Trump’s tweets, with one getting a label that it was “glorifying violence”.

Refusing to budge from his stand, Zuckerberg wrote in a post: “I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.”

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