India’s Ministry of Technology, according to reports from the South China Morning Post, is reportedly asking social media companies to delete all references to a variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus, B.1.617, the so-called Indian variant, claiming it hurts the image of the country.
The variant, which was first detected yesterday in Thailand at a construction camp, has driven concerns for primarily increased transmissibility of the disease, although existing vaccines appear to protect against the variant according to early medical reports from the UK. India is currently dealing with a resurgence of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the country.
A letter from the Indian Ministry of Technology was reportedly sent yesterday, May 21st, 2021, to all major social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, asking them to remove all content calling the variant the ‘Indian variant” and to only refer to it as B.1.617. The letter, which was not public but revealed to various association press sources, claimed this hurts the “outstanding image of India”. The letter also stated that although the variant was reportedly first identified in India by the WHO, it is unclear if it could have originated from another country and been brought there originally, and is therefore unfair to label it “Indian.”
An official response from social media companies was not immediately forthcoming, but it is unlikely such a massive request regarding the takedown of thousands, if not many more, of posts, would take place.