Facebook was subjected to criticism in Kerala early on Sunday after news emerged that the social media giant had suspended the page of popular poet K. Satchidanandan.
"This came last night and the reason is for posting a hilarious video about Amit Shah (Union Home Minister) and the loss of the Kerala unit of the BJP in the recent Assembly polls. I had also posted another advertisement about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I had received both these on my WhatsApp," onmanorama quoted Satchidanandan as saying. The suspension was, according to reports, for a period of 24 hours, from Friday night.
Satchidanandan claimed he had received a warning from Facebook previously. "On April 21, I received a warning and that was for a comment which had humour in it. Before that I started to
notice that comments of mine were disappearing," Satchidanandan was quoted as saying by onmanorama. He added, "I feel such things can be expected time and again from now on. When I
tried to post an article against the suppression of criticism that appeared in the medical journal Lancet, I got the message that 'you are trying to post something other people on Facebook have found abusive'. So I feel that there are preying eyes behind critics like me.”
Satchidanandan said he would not be able to do any Facebook Live for violating the social media giant's community standards.
Despite the action by Facebook, Satchidanandan appeared defiant. In a post late on Saturday night, he wrote, "If the choice is between being on the FB and being a democrat and a human rights defender, I have no doubt where I should stand."
Satchidanandan alleged the Central government was involved in the incident. He told The New Indian Express, “There are three groups—one is the Union government, second Facebook itself and third a group that is close to the Centre, that keeps a close watch on opinion makers and then reports them to either the Centre or Facebook."
K Satchidanandan has been temporarily restricted by Facebook after he posted a fake/instigating video and did not pull it down even after the platform warned about it, post fact check. Going against the law and later calling out victim hood is a typical fake news peddler style! pic.twitter.com/1Yi5eExGm1— BJP KERALAM (@BJP4Keralam) May 9, 2021
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor decried the suspension of Satchidanandan's page as "censorship". Tharoor tweeted, "Deplorable that @Facebook has suspended the account of one of Kerala's greatest living poets, @Satchida (K. Satchidanandan, former Secy of the SahityaAkademi), for posting a video about BJP's defeat in the Kerala Assembly elections. We must not allow censorship into our politics!"
However, the Kerala unit of the BJP defended the action against Satchidanandan. "K Satchidanandan has been temporarily restricted by Facebook after he posted a fake/instigating video and did not pull it down even after the platform warned about it, post fact check. Going against the law and later calling out victim hood is a typical fake news peddler style!" the Kerala BJP unit tweeted.
(With inputs from onmanorama)