New Delhi: In a strange turn of events, Facebook and Instagram on Thursday unblocked the #sikh hashtag after nearly three months, admitting that the block happened ‘mistakenly’ as the result of a report in early March. Also Read - #BlackOutTuesday: Here's Why Millions of People Are Posting Black Squares On Twitter & Instagram
More shocking was the fact that the company had no knowledge about the incident and became aware of the block only on Wednesday after many social media users reported the issue and raised concern over the blocking of the hashtag Sikh.
Users said that whenever the #sikh hashtag was being searched on the platform, Instagram opened up an error message window.
Meanwhile, many users found about the blocked hashtag when they tried to post about the 36th anniversary of Operation Blue Star that happened in June 1984 and accused Instagram of silencing the voices of Sikhs. Ravinder Singh, founder and CEO of the NGO Khalsa Aid and Canadian author and poet Rupi Kaur were among the notable celebrities to criticise the ban.
After receiving a large number of complaints, Instagram unblocked the hashtag hastily followed by Facebook.
Apologising for the same, Instagram wrote, “We became aware that these hashtags were blocked today following feedback we received from the community and quickly moved to unblock them. Our processes fell down here, and we’re sorry.”
Saying that their intention was to never silence the voice of a community, Instagram added that it understands this is an incredibly important, painful time for the Sikh community.
Facebook later revealed that the #sikh hashtag was first blocked on Facebook and Instagram on March 7, following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by their teams.