The All Assam Chutia Students' Union (AACSU) yesterday criticized Facebook for blocking "thousands" of accounts in the Chutia community. Facebook likely believes the accounts are fake or just spam, but AACSU argues it's all a big misunderstanding. The student organization burned a Facebook effigy in the five upper Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, and Golaghat on Monday and demanded public apology from the social networking giant.
"Facebook has blocked the accounts of all the subscribers belonging to the Chutia community of Assam thinking the names are false and fabricated," AACSU general secretary Jyotiprasad Chutia told a press conference in Jorhat, according to The Times of India. "For Chutia being an abusive word in the Hindi language, Facebook authorities thought that the account holders are fake and fabricated. But, they are still unknown to the fact that Chutia is an ethnic tribe of Assam which has a rich historical background in the state history. We are very unhappy with authority as they have even failed to verify the matter seriously before taking a step like blocking thousands of our accounts. We think it may be a deep-rooted conspiracy against our community and so we warn them to abstain from such acts in the future. They even failed to verify the truth when they blocked the accounts of some prominent personalities and popular artists like Krishnamoni Chutia, who belongs to our community. We protested this negligence and demanded them to reactivate our accounts immediately."
Chutia is a small community in Assam, a northeastern state of India. The official languages in Chutia are Assamese, Bengal, and Bodo. In India, the official languages are Hindi and English.
In Hindi, "chutia" or "chutiya" is a slang word roughly translates to "c***" in English. Those who use it are usually referring to someone as a "douchebag" or "moron" or "f***er" (according to UrbanDictionary).
It's not clear how all the accounts in question were blocked: was it automatic or did someone authorize each of the blocks? I have contacted Facebook and will update you if I hear back.
I'd like to thank my colleague Manan Kakkar for tipping me off on this story.