Kisan Ekta’s page was taken down due to spam alert after ‘spike in activity’, says Facebook
Facebook said on Monday that Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook page was taken down because increased activity on the page had triggered an automatic response against spam content.
“According to our review, our automated systems found increased activity on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/kisanektamorcha and marked it as spam, which violates our Community Standards. We restored the page in less than three hours when we realized the context. The review showed that only the Facebook page was affected by automated systems, while the Instagram account was not affected, ”said a company spokesperson.
The social network faced a massive backlash from civil society after the page, which is run by a collective of farmers, was closed Sunday night. It sparked widespread criticism, with farmers saying the move was an attempt to muzzle their voices.
It was not immediately clear why the company removed the website based solely on an alert from the automated system.
The Hindustan Times reported Sunday that Kisan Ekta Morcha’s Facebook page, less than five days old, had amassed 75,000 followers. The group collects and compiles information from different farmers’ unions and publishes it on social media.
Now this is #TooMuchDemocracy. A peaceful protest by #Kissan and @Facebook removes @Kisanektamorcha’s Facebook page, ”the farmers group tweeted after their Facebook page was removed. The group also received a restriction on their Instagram account, after which they were not allowed to post videos or photos. According to Baljeet Singh, the head of the group’s information technology cell, the page was removed for violating the community standards of the social media website.
“We had posted videos against Narendra Modi’s speech from the day before yesterday,” Singh said Sunday. Every one of his lies was countered with facts and examples. Subsequently, we started a live broadcast with Yogendra Yadav (from Swaraj India) and in the middle of the broadcast, the page was taken down. ”
After a massive outrage, Facebook later restored the page. “The vast majority of our work in the fight against spam is done automatically using recognizable patterns of problematic behavior,” added the Facebook spokesperson. “For example, if an account is posted over and over again in rapid succession, it’s a strong sign that something is wrong. However, we also rely on our human review team to work on cases where human expertise is needed to understand the context of a particular situation. In the third quarter of 2020, of the 1.9 billion pieces of content removed globally for violating our spam policies, we restored 74.9 million pieces of content, when we identified issues ourselves. “
However, a digital rights activist disagreed with the social network’s website assessment.
Apar Gupta, a trustee and attorney for the Internet Freedom Foundation, said the removal demonstrated flawed processes that ignore users’ rights.
“According to the statement released by Facebook, it is clear that human review is not taking place before their algorithms remove the pages. This clearly indicates that the system itself is flawed and requires oversight, as well as clear notification and appeal processes prior to removal of pages and accounts, ”he said.