Ground Report | New Delhi: No vote to BJP’ Facebook group; Facebook on the night of August 18 disabled the ‘Don’t vote for BJP’ group, which had over 33,000 members and had campaigned against the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the West Bengal assembly elections earlier this year.
The “Don’t Vote for BJP” Facebook group has over 33,000 members. Post-poll, the campaign has been active both online and offline, credited for playing a key role in the BJP’s crushing assembly election defeat.
The group is run by members of the ‘Bengal Against Fascist BJP-RSS’ platform. Many political observers believe that the group played an important role when eager to build public opinion against the party before contesting elections. The BJP was defeated and the ruling Trinamool Congress returned to power.
The citizens’ initiative, however, is not aligned with the TMC or any other political party. His efforts largely included an online and street campaign in which members asked people to vote for a party other than the BJP.
No vote to BJP’ Facebook group
A member of the group that did not vote for the BJP said: “Aggressive comments and fake posts from right-wing sympathizers abound on Facebook. The people behind them are left behind but our voice is suppressed.” Netizens and activists opposing the BJP alleged that the disability was not a one-off.
Another group called the No NRC Movement – created to “oppose the new citizenship of the Center and expose and oppose fascist forces” – was disabled several times by Facebook before and during the Bengal elections.
Sagar Lahiri, an administrator of the group, said, “No NRC movement was disabled at least thrice on the same ground.” “Every time, it was reinstated after several people protested on Facebook about the arbitrary action. Last time, the group was disabled for about a month from mid-May.”
After the group was deactivated on August 18 (Wednesday), its administrators attempted to get a reply from Facebook as to what led to the move. They also started a new hashtag campaign on Facebook, demanding that the group be re-enabled. In the afternoon of 20 August, the group was finally reactivated.
Facebook call it error
However, within 24 hours of disabling the ‘Don’t vote for BJP’ page for violating “community standards”, Facebook said it had blocked the page due to an “error” and has now reinstated it.
“This page was temporarily blocked by mistake, but has since been restored,” a spokesperson for the social networking site said in a statement.
“However, the company has not explicitly mentioned which standards we have violated earlier. As admins of the group, we have the right to know on what basis the social media platform blocked us. We suspect that Facebook users who opposed us had a role in this.”