Instagram has deactivated online news platform Propergaanda’s account for the third time this year because of an apparent complaint of a ‘far-right group’.
The Lahore-based news platform shared the development in a tweet posted on November 17.
“ProperGaanda has been disabled We’ve written to @facebook to bring our account back online so we can keep curating content around issues that matter most to you. Help us bring our account back by sharing this post. We need your support,” it read.
It also urged Facebook, the owner of Instagram, to bring its account back online and asked people in power to help them take action.
Reacting to the development, Propergaanda co-founder Hamza Ghaznavi had posted a series of tweets with screenshots of a user he held responsible for the account's deactivation. The user, who claims to be an official information secretary of the All Pakistan Talba Mahaz, has warned Propergaanda that “there is more to come”.
Propergaanda says it produces written and visual content based on politics, entertainment and satire daily. Currently, the online platform is incubated at the Pakistan Board of Information Technology’s tech incubator, Plan9.
“We faced similar situations a couple of months ago when we posted content related to the Taliban takeover of the Afghan government in August and TLP chief Saad Rizvi’s bail in October,” Propergaanda co-founder Hamza Ghaznavi told Aaj Digital on Monday.
“At that time, we contacted Facebook via email and our account was retrieved in a few hours,” he said, adding that a private news website had helped them by connecting them to the Facebook coordination team.
Ghaznavi added that they had also approached the Punjab government to report the development.
He was of the view that there was not a standard set for Pakistan by the social media giant to review complaints and pages structure. “Such a situation makes the country vulnerable as progressive pages are very often shut down,” he said and lamented that far-right pages are going on.
To a question about the reason behind the page shut down this time, he said: “We don’t know. There might be some minor copyright infringement, but you cannot ban a whole social media page.”
There's little information about the All Pakistan Talba Mahaz, the group that may be behind Propergaanda's ban.
APTM has social media prescence with few hundred followers and their posts show leaning towards the right on issues like patriotism and women's rights, for example. The group's information secretary seems an active user of Instagram.
He posted an image of what appeared to be a conversation with Ghaznavi in which he asks how's life without Propergaanda.
Ghaznavi , meanwhile, said the deactivation of the account has affected its viewership, employees, and its PG Bazaar platform that provides direct access to consumers to small businesses.
Ghaznavi urged the people at the helm to help them take action against it. He stressed the need for bringing content creators from different backgrounds to a single platform to chalk out strategies for solving prevailing issues.
“I fail to understand for all the talk of creating safer spaces online/ a well attractive image of Pakistan in front of the world, why hasn’t anyone done anything about it,” he said in a tweet.