Facebook and Instagram accounts, which were set up by farmers’ organisations protesting against the government’s new agricultural law, were taken down by Facebook for a few hours on Sunday.The official page Kisan Ekta Morcha was blocked following a live broadcast, sparking a debate about online censorship.
A Facebook live was being streamed from the page where demonstrators were talking about how they had reached 94 lakh people from the page. At 7pm the page was unpublished, the reason being it was against Facebook’s community standard on spam. Later after three hours, it was restored, said the official statement issued by the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.
According to the protestors group, the page was blocked just after activist Yogendra Yadav, announced farmers participating in an indefinite, relay hunger strike starting Monday in a live broadcast. A similar action was faced in their page on Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook. They were not allowed to share new posts on their account, the farmers said.
When they can’t beat the ideology, this is what they do when people raise their voice, tweeted Kisan Ekta Morcha.
Meanwhile, Facebook has issued a statement stating that they regret the inconvenience caused and has restored the page, but did not mention why the page was taken down. The removal caused social media outrage as people began questioning why the page was taken down. It has also raised questions about Facebook’s alleged bias towards the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The facebook page was set up by farmers organisations’ information technology cell to counter misinformation. It works round the clock to monitor online discussions and fake news about farmers’ protests. The cell has created the Kisan Ekta Morcha page across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Youtube. The page was officially launched at a press conference in presence of senior farmer leaders to put out details about the ongoing protests against three agricultural laws.