Facebook has now restored the posts. The company tells The Verge that the hashtag was blocked “by mistake” and claims it wasn’t because the Indian government asked Facebook to remove it. It also says the block was the result of some of the content that used the hashtag, but did not specify what kind of content.
The temporary suspension of the hashtag is likely to fuel concerns about the influence that Modi’s BJP party wields over Facebook operations and social media in general. Last weekend, Twitter hid tweets critical of various officials after receiving an emergency order from the government.
When Facebook users tried to view a hashtag calling for the resignation of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, they instead saw a message saying that Facebook was temporarily hiding the posts in order to keep the community safe. Buzzfeed News reports that the posts were hidden for about three hours.