Hyderabad: Facebook has blocked DC columnist Mohan Guruswamy without giving him any reason, in yet another instance of a social media site toeing the line of the government and the powers that be.
Mr Guruswamy, a policy analyst studying economic and security issues, has held senior positions in government and the industry. He also specialises in the Chinese economy.
Incidentally, Facebook blocked Mr Guruswamy right when his daughter Menaka, a renowned lawyer, has been invited by the Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University, Delhi and Facebook to a closed-door roundtable discussion on Facebook’s recent announcement about creating an independent board where content decisions can be appealed and whose decisions would be transparent and binding.
Mr Guruswamy has often pointed out lacunae in the government’s policies on economy and security. His profile on Facebook has over 40,000 followers. But early on Saturday, his followers and well-wishers were shocked to get the following email from Mr Guruswamy, “I have been ‘expelled’ from Facebook for reasons unknown. It obviously was done at the behest of the powers that be. I was first told that I was being suspended from posting for three days as I had violated someone’s IPR. No reason. Nothing explicit. It happened once before when I posted something from BBC. This time, no reasons. After the three day blockage I find myself just BLOCKED out.”
Recovering from a spinal surgery, he said he would have to “start a website or something.”
When contacted, Mr Guruswamy blamed the “powers that be” for Facebook blocking him. “Before the Union Budget, there were calls from the BJP office to spare them on the Budget,” he said.
Mr Guruswamy wrote to Facebook seeking an explanation. He told the social media site he had been on Facebook for almost 10 years.
“I have had very strict rules on what people could say and language. No name calling, no incitement and no bogus claims. I have blocked thousands from my page for breach of these. Yet, I have about 40,000 followers. I accept FB is yours, but I think I have a right to know what exactly you found offensive to completely blank me out,” he wrote.
“The manner in which social media is evolving and playing a role in our affairs puts an enormous responsibility on FB to follow practices of natural justice. By arbitrarily shutting me down I believe you infringe my basic rights and freedom of speech and expression,” Mr Guruswamy wrote.
On Facebook’s policy to block users or user’s content, Mr Guruswamy said that the social media site has a specific policy for India (and Pakistan) and no reason was given for blocking a user.
Facebook was unavailable for comment till the time of going to press.