Facebook Bans Modi Critic for Hitler Post, Unbans After Complaint

A leading political Youtube content creator and a frequent critic of the Narendra Modi government and Bharatijya Janta Party, Dhruv Rathee, was briefly banned from posting on Facebook on Monday, 18 March.

Earlier on Monday, Rathee had tweeted that the giant social media platform had blocked him from posting on Facebook for 30 days, which included crucial phases leading up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He wrote, "Today, @Facebook banned my account for 30 days. What a coincidence that elections are 30 days away also and what a coincidence that my engagement rates are one of the biggest in India, competing with BJP’s top propganda pages, including Modi’s official page." (sic)

Rathee had simply posted screenshots of a Britannica article talking about the life and rise of Adolf Hitler and written, “These are paragraphs from biography of Hitler. Read the lines which I underlines in red.”

He was then notified by Facebook,“This post goes against our Community Standards.”

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Sharing the screenshot of his Facebook post, which was earlier blocked but later reinstated, Rathee tweeted,"Is educating people about Hitler through Britannica encyclopedia against FB’s standards?"

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Page Restored, FB Admits Error

Rathee told The Quint that within 6 hours of him filing a complaint with Facebook, the social media platform restored his account admitting that they "made a mistake and removed something you (Rathee) posted on Facebook that didn't go against our Community Standards."

In a statement, Facebook said, “Our Community Standards are the policies that set out what we do and don't allow on Facebook. Our 15,000 content reviewers based around the world review millions of pieces of content every day in over 50 languages, including many different Indian languages – and sometimes they make mistakes. In this case, our content reviewers mistakenly removed a piece of content posted by Dhruv Rathee, leading to the temporary disabling of his account. We were alerted to our error, and acted swiftly to restore Dhruv's profile and content. We're really sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Rathee, who has 1.7 million YouTube subscribers and over 550,000 followers on his Facebook page, often makes video critical of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

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