Nimish SawantJul 11, 2016 16:02:49 IST
Update: Facebook has responded: "Our Community Standards prohibit content that praises or supports terrorists, terrorist organisations or terrorism, and we remove it as soon as we’re made aware of it. We welcome discussion on these subjects but any terrorist content has to be clearly put in a context which condemns these organisations or their violent activities.”
The internet in the Kashmir Valley had been suspended over the weekend by authorities. This was done to contain the spread of rumours by anti-social elements, after the killing of Jammu and Kashmir’s most wanted guerrilla Burhan Wani by the security forces. So far, the death toll following the protests that erupted during Wani's funeral procession has reached 22.
While the protest still continues, both online and offline, a pro-Kashmir activist Huma Dar has alleged that Facebook has blocked her account.
People known to Huma Dar are also protesting against the atrocities in Kashmir on Facebook as well as on Twitter. Huma Dar, is an academic associated with the University of California, Berkeley. We have reached out to Dar for more elaboration on the matter. We will update the story when we hear from her.
Kuffir Nalgundwar's Facebook status with Dar's screenshot is the one that being shared the most on Facebook. Nalgundwar has written, "our dear friend Huma Dar's fb account has been blocked because the brahmin indian state doesn't like her stand on kashmir. protest this friends! stand up for huma!"
Another user Viswesh Rammohan said, "At a time like this, when the state is causing havoc in Kashmir, it is shameful that you would censor a voice as eloquent and necessary as Huma's. We all know where your priorities lie. Time and again, you just prove it. Shame on you!"
Even users on Twitter are outraged at the alleged deletion of Dar's account.
We reached out to Facebook regarding this allegation. Carson Dalton, head of communications at Facebook reponsed thus, "We are looking into this matter and will respond as soon. Thanks for reaching out."
Honestly speaking, it seems quite naive of Facebook to block / delete the account of such a prominent voice, if it indeed has allegedly blocked the account due to political reasons. Of course, we know Facebook has Community Standards which have to be followed. It also lets people the right to flag Facebook updates which do not follow these standards. People are justifiably enraged on Facebook as well as on Twitter. Facebook has, in the past, been accused of gaming the Trending Topics section. This makes it much more than a neutral platform. This is a matter of big concern in the United States.
Unless Facebook releases an official statement behind the reasoning of the account block, it just comes across as an act of stifling free speech.
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