“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,” Instagram said in a statement.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Published: June 4, 2020 4:01:54 pmInstagram, facebook, sikh blocked instagram, hashtag sikh blocked, sikh blue star anniversary, indian express, tech newsX“Some content in those posts goes against our Community Standards,” the warning message read.

Social media platforms Instagram and Facebook drew flak after the hashtags #Sikh and #Sikhism were blocked on both platforms. Although a worldwide campaign, which alleged bias by the company started only on Wednesday, the company while apologising for the ‘mistake’ admitted it had been blocked for almost three months.

The company in a statement said it first became aware of the hashtag being blocked on Wednesday, after feedback from members of the Sikh community. Instagram unblocked the hashtag soon after, but it Facebook several more hours to do the same.

The incident came to light when many Sikh people wanted to post about the anniversary of Operation Blue Star.SikhPressAssociation@SikhPA

Why has Instagram blocked the hashtag #Sikh @instagram @mosseri?

In the same week that #Neverforget1984 trends on Twitter, Instagram seemingly conspires to suppress the truth about the atrocities of the 1984 Sikh genocide by censoring the faith of 27 million people. https://twitter.com/Sikh2Inspire/status/1268167610308460546 …Sikh 2 Inspire@Sikh2InspireThe blocking of #Sikh by @instagram at a time when #Sikhs are remembering the atrocities of 1984.

We ask you @instagram what the reason for this blocking is, to suppress the truth?

Let us all ask them the same [email protected] @sgsssouthall @gngsmethwick @basicsofsikhi
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Sikh politicians, artists and celebrities began tagging the two platforms and complained about what they said was discriminatory behaviour.Simran Jeet Singh@SikhProf

Ridiculous that @Facebook and @Instagram have both banned the hashtag #Sikh.

Will you join us in asking them to remove this ban?

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1,361Twitter Ads info and privacy724 people are talking about thisrupi kaur@rupikaur_

the hypocrisy of @facebook‘s approach to free speech:

zuckerberg says fb’s principles prohibit him from blocking trump as he incites violence & hate.

meanwhile as sikhs raise their voice to mark the injustices of 1984: sikh hashtags are blocked.@instagramcomms do better. https://twitter.com/sikhpa/status/1268180574910459906 …

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SikhPressAssociation@SikhPAWhy has Instagram blocked the hashtag #Sikh @instagram @mosseri?

In the same week that #Neverforget1984 trends on Twitter, Instagram seemingly conspires to suppress the truth about the atrocities of the 1984 Sikh genocide by censoring the faith of 27 million people. https://twitter.com/Sikh2Inspire/status/1268167610308460546 …
396Twitter Ads info and privacy179 people are talking about thisPanjabi Hit Squad@PanjabiHitSquad

Hi @instagram, we see you blocked #Sikh from your hashtag list. Would appreciate if you could unblock it as it is providing important information and remembrance about attacks that took place in 1984 at the Golden Temple. 🙏🏽100Twitter Ads info and privacy32 people are talking about thisHarjinder Singh Kukreja@SinghLions · 

Dear @instagram, Sikhs worldwide are shocked at hashtag #Sikh being blocked. Receiving the following message, “we restrict certain content and actions to protect our community” when we use hashtag #Sikh. For this awful & discriminatory experience, @InstagramComms must answer.

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Harjinder Singh Kukreja@SinghLions

Just realised that the discriminatory move is not just limited to @instagram but has also expanded to @Facebook.
This can’t be ignored like a technical glitch because it’s not just one platform. Silencing hashtag #Sikh is an attempt to silence the voice of the Sikh community.

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130Twitter Ads info and privacy57 people are talking about thisravinder singh@RaviSinghKA

It’s absolutely crazy that @Facebook has banned the #Sikh hashtag !!!!

Is mr #Zuckerberg now banning people who are #Sikh ?!??

This must be THE STUPIDEST ban ever !!! @fbnewsroom @facebookapp

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1,088Twitter Ads info and privacy561 people are talking about thisguvlally@onjobpreet

#sikh is being hidden on Instagram during the month of remeberance for Sikhs uno how fucked that is. This year probably seen the most posts and shares about 1984 and now they are trying to censor us. They don’t want people to know.2,645Twitter Ads info and privacy1,056 people are talking about thisAmrit Kaur@Amritkaur_bx · 

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

The most recent photos in #sikhism are still being blocked by @instagram!

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4Twitter Ads info and privacySee Amrit Kaur’s other Tweets悟空@Gurinder94_

#Sikh is being hidden on Instagram when you click on it. You can’t even search it. It’s no coincidence that this is happening in the month of June. On the 36th year anniversary of the Sikh Genocide. @instagram1,191Twitter Ads info and privacy578 people are talking about this

Following outrage, Instagram said it was unclear how exactly the block was imposed and how it took so long for the company to realise.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, replied to one such tweet saying, “Not sure what’s going on here, but we’re looking into it and will circle back. Thanks for calling it out.” Soon after, the hashtag was restored on Instagram. He also later added that they are ‘investigating why this happened.”Instagram Comms@InstagramComms · 

We have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.Instagram Comms@InstagramComms

#sikh is now unblocked on Facebook.265Twitter Ads info and privacy116 people are talking about thisInstagram Comms@InstagramComms · Replying to @InstagramComms

Thanks for your patience today. We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7th following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by our teams.Instagram Comms@InstagramComms

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.165Twitter Ads info and privacy74 people are talking about thisInstagram Comms@InstagramCommsReplying to @InstagramComms

This is an incredibly important, painful time for the Sikh community. We designed hashtags to allow people to come together and share with one another. It’s never our intention to silence the voices of this community, we are taking the necessary steps so this doesn’t happen again642Twitter Ads info and privacy301 people are talking about this

However, many were upset that the hashtag had been blocked since March 7 and the tech giants had failed to realise this. Many demanded an explanation for why it happened in the first place.Aditya Mukerjee, the Otterrific  @chimeracoder

how do you just… ban an entire religious minority from the two largest social networks in the world for THREE MONTHS and not notice??? https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268236937246019589 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsWe have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.210Twitter Ads info and privacy71 people are talking about thisJo Kaur@SikhFeminist

So we’ve been blocked from Instagram for months and we just reported it? Come on, fam. https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268315849795895296 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsReplying to @InstagramCommsThanks for your patience today. We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7th following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by our teams.10Twitter Ads info and privacySee Jo Kaur’s other TweetsJassa Ahluwalia@OfficialJassa

This requires a more thorough explanation. #Sikh https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268316343062929409 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsReplying to @InstagramCommsThis is an incredibly important, painful time for the Sikh community. We designed hashtags to allow people to come together and share with one another. It’s never our intention to silence the voices of this community, we are taking the necessary steps so this doesn’t happen again90Twitter Ads info and privacy22 people are talking about thisAmrit Kaur J.@JamzKaur

Ok but why? What report? Whose report? What was the content that was reported? How does an ENTIRE hashtag get blocked over a report? https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268315849795895296 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsReplying to @InstagramCommsThanks for your patience today. We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7th following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by our teams.19Twitter Ads info and privacySee Amrit Kaur J.’s other TweetsSandeep Singh ਸਨਦੀਪ ਸਿੰਘ@PunYaab

So you blocked #Sikh for three months by mistake. Really? Sikhism is world’s fifth-largest religion and the Sikh population is approx. 27 million. You made them invisible for 3 months. Members of your teams are so ignorant and stupid that they were not aware of the term Sikh. https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268315849795895296 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsReplying to @InstagramCommsThanks for your patience today. We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7th following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by our teams.48Twitter Ads info and privacySee Sandeep Singh ਸਨਦੀਪ ਸਿੰਘ’s other Tweetslil decaf@lildamanjot

i want to know why #sikh was blocked on march 7.

which team members reviewed it, why was it deemed inappropriate, and what’s being done to ensure this won’t happen again? https://twitter.com/instagramcomms/status/1268236937246019589 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsWe have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.56Twitter Ads info and privacy27 people are talking about thisKaram Singh@itsKaramSinghReplying to @InstagramComms

There NEEDS to be a follow up to this tweet. It is incredibly important that there is an EXPLANATION to this. @InstagramComms13Twitter Ads info and privacySee Karam Singh’s other Tweets‎ਸਿੰਘ@singh84_

We want an explanation asap! You should never silence a community on your platform. #neverforget1984 #SikhLivesMatter #Sikh https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268236937246019589 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsWe have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.1Twitter Ads info and privacySee ‎ਸਿੰਘ’s other TweetsGagan Singh@urbanturbanguy

This is what happens when you let Machine Learning do all the heavy lifting. Manual review of actioning on Long-standing #hashtags is a simple thing you Product Manager should have thought of. https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268236937246019589 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsWe have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.11Twitter Ads info and privacySee Gagan Singh’s other TweetsHerm DeWalt@hermd_

The fact that this happened at all is appalling. No coincidence that it happened at a time where Sikhs are remembering and raising awareness for the 36th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh Genocide. Censorship is a very real problem. https://twitter.com/InstagramComms/status/1268236937246019589 …Instagram Comms@InstagramCommsWe have unblocked the hashtag #sikh on Instagram and are working to unblock #sikh on Facebook. We’re investigating why this happened. We will follow up here later today with more information.15Twitter Ads info and privacySee Herm DeWalt’s other Tweets

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been facing criticism after he decided not to act against posts by US President Donald Trump which many felt were an incitement to violence. Many Facebook staffers have openly criticised the decision and some have even reportedly left the company. Rival Twitter has been labelling some of Trump’s tweets, with one getting a label that it was “glorifying violence”.

Refusing to budge from his stand, Zuckerberg wrote in a post: “I know many people are upset that we’ve left the President’s posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies.”

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