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Facebook apologizes for ‘confusion’ after listing disputed Kashmir region as independent state

Facebook apologizes for ‘confusion’ after listing disputed Kashmir region as independent state
Facebook listed the troubled region of Kashmir, disputed between Pakistan and India, as an independent state, forcing the social media giant to apologize for “confusion” and defend the blunder as merely a “mistake.”

The unfortunate recognition of Kashmir’s sovereignty snuck into Facebook’s statement on its efforts to ban allegedly fake accounts and groups, which was issued by Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher on Tuesday.

“Today, we removed 513 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of multiple networks tied to Iran,” Gleicher said in a blog post. Other banned pages were linked to North Macedonia, Kosovo and Russia.

The malicious pages have displayed “unauthentic behavior,” according to Gleicher, and operated in “Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kashmir, Kazakhstan or broadly across the Middle East and North Africa.”

While Facebook frequently pats itself on the back for cleansing what it deems to be “unauthentic” and “fake” content, the appearance of Kashmir on a list of national states has surely raised a few eyebrows. While Indians were angered by the unexpected move, Kashmiri separatists celebrated the “recognition.”

The blunder was swiftly noticed by the social media giant, which then removed Kashmir from the list and apologized for any “confusion” that the “mistake” might have caused.

“Kashmir was the subject of some of the content shared by this network, but it should not have been included in that list,” Facebook said on Wednesday. “We have corrected this in the blog post and we apologize for any confusion caused.”

Kashmir is claimed both by India and Pakistan. The troubled region has been disputed by the two countries since they gained independence from Britain, and has become an arena for a string of military conflicts, which have left tens of thousands dead.

Late in February, the dormant Kashmiri conflict yet again resulted in a military standoff between India and Pakistan, which involved air strikes, artillery shelling and even an aerial battle between the two nuclear-armed nations. The flare-up was triggered by a mid-February suicide-bomb attack on an Indian paramilitary police convoy, which resulted in the deaths of over 40 people. The attack was claimed by a Pakistani-based militant group.

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