In a recent series of tweets by Instagram’s official communication handle on Twitter, they admitted that Instagram and Facebook were blocking the hashtag #Sikh on the platforms since March. While apologizing for it calling it a mistake, they mentioned that a report in early March resulted in a block. The feedback from the community made the platforms aware of the block on both social media networks on Wednesday. They have unblocked the hashtag immediately.
Many tweets were posted recently targeting Instagram and Facebook in which users asked the reason behind blocking #sikh and #sikhism on the platforms.
It’s there a way to get @instagram to release an official statement about why they blocked #sikh? What exactly was the “unusual activity”? Because the community should be aware of what it was and potentially by whom?— Amrit Kaur (@Amritkaur_bx) June 3, 2020
The screenshots posted by users show that a message saying “posts for this hashtag are temporarily hidden because of unusual activity that may not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines”.
Although Instagram talked about only the #Sikh hashtag, screenshots posted by users show that the hashtag #Sikhism was also blocked on the platform, which now seems to be unblocked.
#Sikh was blocked since March
In the tweets, Instagram admitted that #Sikh hashtag was blocked by mistake on 7th March 2020. It was due to inaccurately reviewing a report against the hashtag, they claimed. In the last few months, the Sikh community is using Twitter to raise their voice against discrimination by other platforms to silence their voices. A message was visible when someone clicked on the hashtag that it did not meet the guidelines of the social media platforms. Even though users have been raising voice from the last three months on Twitter, Instagram said they noticed it on 3rd June.
In the tweets, Instagram PR team said that they have investigated the issue and unblocked hashtag #Sikh from both platforms. They mentioned that it is never their intension to silence anyone’s voice over their platform. The tweets admitted that it is a painful and important time for the Sikh community. They promised to take necessary actions so that nothing like this ever happens again.
Instagram has a history of excessive hashtag monitoring
Instagram has faced criticism for hashtag monitoring in the past. Instagram recently admitted that many users were unable to post or view content associated with #BlackLivesMatter because of incorrect spam detection.
It may be noted that Instagram is part of Facebook. Social media giant Facebook had acquired photo and video sharing platform Instagram in 2012.