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“I Fucking Love Science” Facebook page blocked in India

This is as bizarre as that instance of a wedding photographers album getting blocked in India last year. It appears that the “I Fucking Love Science” Facebook page has been blocked in India (Hat tip: Nikhil Narayanan)

We checked, and the page redirects to the Facebook homepage. However, when we used an anonymous proxy for accessing (i.e., using an IP address other than an Indian IP address), the page loads.

This indicates to us that, unlike in case of the wedding photographer album, wherein the government itself had blocked access to the Facebook URL, and our ISP had displayed the message “The URL you requested has been blocked as per instructions from Department of Telecom (GRG)”, in this instance, Facebook itself is redirecting users to its homepage page.

We’re not sure of why the page has been blocked. The description of the page reads: “We’re here for the science – the funny side of science. Quotes, jokes, memes and anything your admin finds awesome and strange. If you take yourself seriously, you’re on the wrong page. We’re dedicated to bringing the amazing world of science straight to your newsfeed in an amusing and accessible way.”

According to the page, it is being run by Elise Andrew, who is employed by LabX Media Group, which owns LabWrench and publishes Lab Manager Magazine and The Scientist.

We’ve written to Facebook for clarification, asking them:
– Why the page redirects to the Facebook homepage when accessed via India.
– Whether any orders have been received from the Indian government, Indian courts or the Indian police to block the page.
– If orders were received, then when they were received and what grounds were given for blocking.
– If no orders were received, then why the page redirects to the Facebook homepage for Indian users.

To us, the fact that there is a redirect and not a blocking message, indicates that Facebook has instituted this redirect. We’ve asked them to clarify why.

We’ll update in case Facebook responds.

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