Why is Facebook blocking accounts criticising BJP and Hindutva groups?

New Delhi, October 3: From past one month, the social media users in India criticized Facebook for deliberately blocking accounts and pages that shared posts of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindutva groups. Facebook that has around 241 million users in the country denied the allegations.

On September 26, Facebook blocked the account of journalist Mohammad Anas for 30 days after he shared a picture of a trader’s cash memo with a message at the bottom that read: “Kamal ka phool hamari bhool.” The statement infers that it was our mistake to vote for the lotus. The lotus is the BJP’s party symbol. Although, the other accounts that shared the post are not removed.

The social media users were offended by Facebook’s action. Many users asked on Twitter that on what grounds has Facebook blocked the account of  Mohammad Anas. An official spokesperson from Facebook explained that “The main problem with the post was that it revealed the bank account details of the business person, that is absolutely against the Community Standards of Facebook.”

The content of Facebook is examined by real people and that the site bases its action on two guidelines that are Community Standards and Real Name policy. The statement of Facebook read “Suppressing content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is contradictory to our mission. Facebook’s Community Standards exist to help keep our community safe and free from abusive behavior, including fake accounts, hate speech and bullying, and harassment.

To protect the privacy of our community and prevent fraudulent activity, our policies also prohibit sharing of bank account details. People can use Facebook to challenge ideas and raise awareness about important issues, but we will remove content that violates our Community Standards. We have real people looking at reported content, and it doesn’t matter how many times a piece of content is reported, it will be treated the same. One report is enough to take down content if it violates our policies, and multiple reports will not lead to the removal of content if it meets our Community Standards.”

In the case of the accounts it suspended in India last month, Facebook has not mentioned the role of any government agency. Facebook said that “In the Community Standards, violating our Community Standards vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person’s history on Facebook.We may warn someone for a first violation, but if we continue to see further violations we may restrict a person’s ability to post on Facebook.”

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