Srinagar, April 23: The social media giant Facebook continuing with its tradition to censor user accounts in Kashmir permanently disabled dozens of accounts of several users including journalists, social activists, rights activists, filmmakers and academicians.
In its fresh drive of censorship, Facebook Tuesday permanently blocked the account of eminent young journalist and social activist Bilal Bashir Bhat, who would manage the pages of several organizations including the official page of Jammu and Kashmir’s prominent news portal Onlykashmir[dot]in.
“I’m sure that none of my posts have violated Facebook’s community standards of hate speech or incitement to violence but I only portray the ground reality. I am always very careful about what I update, however, this permanent blockage from Facebook is surprising and amounts to rights violation,” Bilal Bashir Bhat said here.
Bilal added, when I contacted the Facebook, they replied with a computer generated message which reads, “We’ve reviewed your account and determined that it hasn’t followed the Facebook Terms. This has resulted in the permanent loss of your account. One of our main priorities is the comfort and safety of the people who use Facebook, and we don’t allow credible threats to harm others, support for violent organizations or exceedingly graphic content on Facebook.”
“The frequent harassment of youth by the misplaced social media policies and authorities is sharpening the resentment against the social media giant. Those who utilize these platforms for positive purposes find their accounts regularly being disabled. Youth vent out their opinions, anger and dissent over it. If they are curtailed then youth have no option but to resort to violence. It is better that they articulate their policies and guidelines transparently so that youth will not find their profiles being disabled regularly without having any clue or idea about it,” states Mushtaq ul haq Ahmad Sikander Author-Activist.
Pertinent to mention here, a petition was initiated by Professor Dibyesh Anand, Naila Smith, Rollie Mukherjee, and Mary Scully to demand that Facebook respect the US Bill of Rights and stop censoring posts, videos, photos, commentary about the Kashmir. The petition urged the Facebook to investigate the reasons behind such censorship. The petition was globally signed by 1,623 online users, but resulted in no positive development and review of policies by Facbook.