The page was restored on both Facebook and Instagram following widespread outrage by social media users.
On Sunday, 20 December, Facebook temporarily blocked the page of Kisan Ekta Morcha (KEM) for allegedly “going against” the social media platform’s “Community Standards on spam.”
The page, used by protesting farmers against the contentious farm laws, was later restored on both Facebook and Instagram following widespread outrage by social media users.
In response to a query by The Quint, Facebook said they have restored “Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook page”and they “regret the inconvenience caused.” The company did not issue further clarification on which specific community standards on spam the page had violated, which warranted blocking the page.
“We’ve restored Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kisanektamorcha and regret the inconvenience caused,” a Facebook company spokesperson said.
At 7:18 pm on Sunday, KEM’s Twitter handle published a screenshot of the Facebook page with the notification that the “page has been unpublished.”
“This is because Kisan Ekta Morcha goes against the Community Standards on spam,” the screenshot mentioned.
The action came amidst sharp questions raised by social media users about Facebook refusing to take action against Bajrang Dal’s page according to a recent Wall Street Journal report but unpublishing a page used by farmers to disseminate information by protesting farmers and farmer unions.
“Closing Kisan Ekta Morcha page, dedicated to India’s farmers’ movement, on Instagram and Facebook – and allowing the Hindu supremacist, Islamophobic violent Bajrang Dal to maintain its pages boasting of violence. That’s @Facebook for you,” tweeted Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association
Page Unpublished Amidst Live Video: Yogendra Yadav
Users mentioned that the protesters alleged that the action came after a live broadcast done by Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav. In the live broadcast, Yadav had said that the protesting farmers will start a day-long hunger strike on Monday at all protest sites, news agency PTI reported.
At 9:45 pm, Yadav said in a tweet, “In midst of a Facebook Live I was doing from Kisan Ekta Morcha’s page, we get a notification that the FB page has been unpublished.”
“There must be something about farmers that this govt is particularly scared of & something about this govt that Facebook is particularly scared of (sic),” he added.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at the Delhi borders for weeks together, demanding the Narendra Modi-led government to repeal the laws.
Facebook’s Spam Policy
According to Facebook’s Community standards regarding spam, the company says it limits the spread of spam “because we do not want to allow content that is designed to deceive, or that attempts to mislead users to increase viewership.”
“This content creates a negative user experience and detracts from people’s ability to engage authentically in online communities,” the social networking platform states, adding that it aims to “prevent people from abusing our platform, products or features to artificially increase viewership or distribute content en masse for commercial gain.”
According to Facebook, actions that count as spam include deceptive pop-up websites, misleading content, like/share-gating, impersonation. It is not clear which of the following actions Facebook found the KEM page to be violating.