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Social Media Crucial for Our Agitation: Angry Farmers over Shutting down of Facebook Page

Amid the nationwide farmer's agitation, Facebook has temporarily shut down a page on the ongoing farmers protest against the centre's new farm laws.

Pronami Chetia
Farmer Protest

Amid the nationwide farmer's agitation, Facebook has temporarily shut down a page on the ongoing farmers protest against the centre's new farm laws. After the social media giant temporarily shut down the page, the protesters on Monday said social media was crucial for their movement as it allowed them to tell the "truth in their our own words".

Moreover, Facebook had shut down the page of 'Kisan Ekta Morcha' on Sunday evening that shares "official updates" on the agitation, only to restore it three hours later following social media outrage.

On the other hand, the Kisan Ekta Morcha's Instagram page was also temporarily suspended.

"Social media plays an important role in our movement. While all kinds of media are writing about us, social media helps us to tell our truth in our own words. The 'godi' media will never show the reality, but on social media, we can share what is actually happening," Himmat Singh, a farmer camping at Singhu border, said.

He came to the protest site from Punjab's Kapurthala four days ago. Before arriving here, he said his main source of information about the agitation was social media.

"I used to take the help of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay abreast of the various developments of the protest", said Himmat. The farmer added that ever since he came to the protest site, he has been posting short videos of the agitation on his Facebook page.

Moreover, the agitating farmers termed the shutting down of the Facebook page of Kisan Ekta Morcha as an "attempt to silence them".

"I think it was done by the government. It is not a big deal for them to shut down something they do not like," the protestor rued.

On Sunday Facebook said the farmers protest community page was blocked because it violated the virtual platform's "community standards".

The social media site, however, clarified on Monday that it was an automated action which happened because of "increased activity" on the page.

Three brothers from Punjab's Gurdaspur said social media was their go-to medium for all kinds of updates on the protest, not just at Singhu border, but also other sites like Tikri and Ghazipur.

"We have been completely dependent on social media for information about the protest, whether it is about what the government is saying or what our leaders have been planning.

"Likewise, we keep watching Youtube to listen to our leaders' speeches," Jitender Singh, a class 12 student, said. His brother Maninder Singh said they have been posting at least 50 stories on Snapchat everyday along with putting up a post on Instagram every other day.

Another protestor, Jagjit Singh talked to one media house and stressed over the importance of social media in the ongoing agitation by the farmers. "Everything is on social media only. Who watches television now, and where will we watch TV here?" he asked.

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