Facebook and Instagram apologize for blocking hashtag 'Sikh'

Facebook and Instagram apologize after ‘mistakenly’ blocking out the hashtag ‘Sikh’ for three months

  • The platforms say the block was instituted ‘mistakenly’ by its teams
  • It did no offer any details on how or what the terms was blocked
  • Instagram says ‘Sikh’ has been blocked on the platform since March 7 

Instagram and Facebook are apologizing after admitting they ‘mistakenly’ blocked the hashtag ‘Sikh’ for months.

In a tweet sent out by Instagram on Wednesday, the company said the ban on the hashtag has been ongoing since March 7 and was brought to the platforms’ attention this week.

Instagram claims the tag was added to a ban list after a ‘report’ was ‘inaccurately’ viewed by its teams.

While Instagram removed the block on the tag almost immediately, it took Facebook – Instagram’s parent company – several more hours to rectify that alleged mistake.

‘Thanks for your patience today. We investigated this issue and found that these hashtags were mistakenly blocked on March 7th following a report that was inaccurately reviewed by our teams,’ wrote Instagram in a tweet. 

‘We became aware that these hashtags were blocked today following feedback we received from the community, and quickly moved to unblock them. Our processes fell down here, and we’re sorry.’

Neither Instagram nor Facebook has offered any further elaboration on why and how ‘Sikh’ was blocked or how the the ban escaped detection for so long. 

The statement seems to suggest that the decision, unlike other apparent mixups in recent months, was not the result of the companies’ algorithms but was instead the product of human error.

MailOnline has reached out to Facebook for further clarification but did not receive an immediate response. 

Instagram and Facebook have struggled at times in their response to weed out misinformation and violative content (stock)

This is the second time Instagram has issued an apology for inadvertently blocking a tag this week.

Previously the platform shut out #BlackLivesMatter after receiving an influx of posts with the tag – the result of a wave of protests around the US relating to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

That ban was caused by the platform’s anti-spam tool accord to the company. 

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