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Facebook briefly censors, then restores, #ResignModi posts

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said Wednesday that the company had restored posts with the hashtag #ResignModi, which call for the resignation of India's prime minister, that had been temporarily blocked by the social network.

"This hashtag has been restored, and we are looking into what happened," Stone said. Later, Stone said the company had blocked the hashtag "by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to."

In its initial messages to users, Facebook said that the hashtag was being blocked because "some content in those posts violates our community standards." The apparent censorship spurred outrage that Facebook might be cowing to pressure from the Indian government, which recently pushed Twitter to block tweets critical of the government's handling of COVID-19.

This is not the first time Facebook has faced such accusations. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on Facebook's former head of policy in India, who was a vocal supporter of Modi and who former employees say stood in the way of efforts to apply Facebook's hate speech rules to violent posts by prominent Hindu nationalists in the country.

This story was updated at 9:24 pm ET to include Stone's updated statement.

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