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TMC and BJP lock horns over Facebook blocking the former’s page

Trinamool Congress blames the BJP of malfeasance after two of its popular Facebook pages were blocked on Saturday. Photo: Mint

Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of malfeasance and triggered a public spat after two of its popular Facebook pages were blocked on Saturday.

The Trinamool Congress, which has lately stepped up its drive to connect with people through the social media, claimed that the two Facebook pages—Trinamool Community Supporters and Trinamool Congress Community Force—had a collective following of some 500,000 users.

The party claimed its official Whatsapp account through which it was connected to some 250,000 people was also blocked, while blaming the BJP for the disruption.

Though the BJP’s general secretary in West Bengal, Sayantan Basu denied the allegation, saying that his party had nothing to do with it, Dipatngshu Chowdhury, co-convenor of the Trinamool Congress’s social media cell, claimed the BJP is now feeling threatened by the Facebook following of his party.

“We have finally been able to threaten the BJP with our social media presence,” said Chowdhury, a retired army officer who had unsuccessfully contested the 2016 assembly election on a BJP ticket from the industrial town of Asansol.

BJP supporters had in large number reported the pages to Facebook as containing objectionable content, alleged members of the Trinamool Congress’s media cell, who asked not to be named. Facebook responded by blocking the pages. The party lodged a complaint with Facebook on Monday following which the pages were unblocked, they added.

Replying to a similar complaint against the blocking of the party’s Whatsapp account, the administrators of the messaging platform said it was expected that the user would abide by the norms going forward, and that if the account was blocked again, there would be “no possibility of appeal”, claimed members of the Trinamool Congress’s media cell cited above.

BJP’s Basu said the blocked Facebook pages had several objectionable posts such as graphics showing chief minister Mamata Banerjee as goddess Durga and prime minister Narendra Modi as the demon. People must have reported these pages on their own, he said, adding that the BJP had nothing to do with these pages being blocked.

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