Facebook and Instagram have unlocked the #sikh hashtag and apologized for it. Instagram said the hashtag was “blocked by mistake” due to a report received in early March. Although the block was in place for almost three months, Facebook became aware of the problem on Wednesday, after large numbers of people were outraged on social media for not allowing them to use #sikh hashtags on their platforms. Instagram noticeably unlocked the hashtag shortly after receiving user reports. However, Facebook took an extra time to unlock.
“We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7 after a report that our teams incorrectly reviewed,” Instagram said on a Twitter thread while clarifying the #sikh hashtag block.
Interestingly, the company added that it became aware of the crash only Wednesday after comments it received from the community. “Our processes fell here, and we are sorry,” continued.
Several people had raised the issue on social media, but finally the Instagram team noticed it on June 3.
The problem seemed to affect selected people. Poet and author Rupi Kaur called it “the hypocrisy of Facebook’s approach to freedom of expression.” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram and former head of News Feed, posted a response to Kaur’s tweet, and that move eventually led to the unblocking on Instagram.
Importantly, the blocking of the hashtag #sikh was noted at a time when a large number of Sikhs are observing the anniversary of Operation Bluestar that occurred in June 1984.
“This is an incredibly important and painful time for the Sikh community,” Instagram wrote while apologizing for blocking the #sikh hashtag. “We design hashtags to allow people to come together and share with each other. It is never our intention to silence the voices of this community, we are taking the necessary steps so that this does not happen again. “
Neither Instagram nor their father Facebook have provided any clarity on why their platforms were unable to detect the error on their own, before being reported by the public, and it took months for them to realize the error. Gadgets 360 has emailed Facebook a query for answers to such questions and will update this space when the company responds.
This is not the first time when Facebook has incorrectly blocked a specific hashtag on their platforms. How noticed by Engadget, the social media giant earlier this week Messages blocked “incorrectly” On Instagram she had the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. The photo-sharing platform said it was due to spam detection technology designed to “help fight spam,” but not to restrict any particular hashtags or messages.
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