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Farmers’ Protest Facebook, Instagram Pages Blocked, Restored After 3 Hours

Facebook and Instagram accounts being used by the farmers protesting the government’s new agricultural laws were blocked on Sunday following a live broadcast, the demonstrators alleged, stoking a debate about online censorship. The pages were restored around three hours later.

Managers of Kisan Ekta Morcha, one the biggest pages being used for the movement, said their page was removed by Facebook which claimed it had gone against its community standards on spam.

Their page on Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook that is battling accusations of favouring the ruling BJP and the government to protect its business interests, has faced similar action and was not being allowed to share new posts, the farmers said.

Facebook, meanwhile, has said they regretted the inconvenience but has not specified why the page was taken down. “We’ve restored Kisan Ekta Morcha’s FB page and regret the inconvenience caused,” said a Facebook company spokesperson.

According to the demonstrating groups, the curbs came just after a live broadcast by Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, who is one of the leaders of the protest, where he announced that the farmers will take part in an indefinite, relay hunger strike starting Monday.’

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