Facebook and Instagram suspended and, after three hours, restored the Kisan Ekta Morcha, the farmers protest pages for updates. They say that social media is the only way for them to get the truth out in their own words.
The Kisan Ekta Morcha page on Facebook was the main source of updates. Farmers often posted official updates, as well as videos of the ongoing protests. Hence, after Facebook and Instagram shut down their pages, there was great outrage.
Pages helped us stay updated about protest, say farmers
Himmat Singh, a protesting farmer, lives in Kapurthala. He used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with any news about the protests while he was home. He then arrived at the protest site at the Singhu border just four days ago. He too began posting videos from the protests on his profile. He believes that the government was trying to shut down the pages, as it would be no major feat for them to do so. Moreover, if that is the case, he says the government attempted to silence them through such a deed.
The ‘godi’ media will never show the reality.Himmat Singh, farmer protesting at Singhu border
Similarly, three brothers from Gurdaspur, Punjab, also depended on such social media to keep up with the protests. One of them, a class 12 student, Jitender, said that they also watched their leaders’ speeches on YouTube. Maninder, another brother, posts about 50 stories daily on Snapchat and one post on Instagram on alternate days. The last brother, Pratap, also posted about Facebook shutting their page down on Twitter. They are thus thankful to social media pages, which allow people around the world to keep supporting them.
Jagjit Singh also brought in another perspective: with social media on the rise and television becoming rarer, the former became a better option to share the news. As many others, he frequently goes through posts about the protests on several pages and accounts.
Facebook says ‘increased activity’ caused shutdown
Meanwhile, Facebook stated that the excessive activity on the page is what led to the page being shut down. It was apparently not due to violation of community standards, or the government.
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