In the evening of April 28, as hashtags calling for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resign started trending across Facebook and Twitter, Facebook users came across a little hiccup - posts with these hashtags seemed to suddenly be blocked by the social media giant. A disclaimer read, "Posts with #ResignModi are temporarily hidden. Some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards."
This started an instant outrage on Twitter, with many users posting the screenshot with the above disclaimer to claim that Facebook was acting on behalf of the Indian government. The government had earlier reportedly instructed Twitter to take down some tweets critical of their management of the ongoing COVID-19 second wave in the country. By next morning, the hashtag was restored on Facebook.
In response to an enquiry by BOOM, a Facebook spokesperson commented, "We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it."
This mistake, as Facebook called it, did not stop social media users to continue their outrage - on Twitter, the hashtag #Resign_PM_Modi and #ResignModi reigned over all other trends for a few days.
#ResignModi on Twitter
The performance of #ResignModi on Twitter strongly correlates with Facebook's restriction of the hashtag.
While a few thousand tweets used this hashtag daily since April 20, nearly 55% (26,807) tweets of all tweets utilising the hashtag (49,082) over that last nine days have been generated today itself.
Users were highlighting Facebook's holding back of the trend, and using it to criticise the government.
Here's how it has performed over the last nine days.
Hashtag Tracker: #Resign_PM_Modi
The call for Prime Minister Modi to resign has other variants as well. The Twitter trend #Resign_PM_Modi is also leading the charge of the platform's users against the government's handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It has persisted among the top ten tweet trends in the day on April 28. As its name suggests, the trend is spelling out the ongoing second wave of the pandemic as one of the failures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While this tweet has been around since December 2019 and was tweeted for the first time with the backdrop of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests that were ongoing at that time, 99% of all the tweets generated have been generated over the course of the past two days (April 27 and 28).
The trend has 61,024 tweets in all.
The trend was revived again in the morning of April 29 - a few seconds after midnight - with 1,336 tweets being generated till 1AM, only to taper down during the day.
Here's how the hashtag has played throughout the day.
Two days ago, on April 27, 54,235 tweets were tweeted out, and here's how the trend performed, almost staying stable across all hours of the day.
BOOM also found significant bot and copy-pasting activity promoting this trend.
Among all handles spreading the trend, this handle, @sudraharesh has tweeted this more than 500 times on its own accord.
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