Facebook has hidden posts with the “#diedsuddenly” hashtag because it claims that some of these posts violate its far-reaching community standards. When users search for this hashtag, no results are displayed and Facebook shows a message stating that the results are hidden.
While Facebook doesn't specify which rules these posts allegedly violated, Twitter users have been using the hashtag to share news stories about people who died suddenly. Most of these Twitter posts note that those who died were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and allude to there being a connection between the vaccines and their deaths.
If Facebook users are posting similar content under this hashtag, the posts are likely to violate the tech giant's ban on a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine claims. Facebook prohibits claims that “vaccines are toxic, dangerous, or cause autism” and reduces the distribution of “shocking stories” about the vaccines. One of Facebook's examples of a shocking story is “Uncovered: See the 632 reports made of people who died within a week of having the new COVID-19 vaccine.”
The blocking of this hashtag is the latest of many examples of Facebook censoring content that is critical of or raises questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Throughout the pandemic, Facebook has also mass censored anti-mask content, anti-lockdown content, and content that said the coronavirus came from a lab (a censorship policy that was suddenly reversed after the Biden admin announced that it would be investigating the origins of COVID).
Not only does Facebook mass censor content that goes against or questions government guidance and the legacy media narrative on COVID but it also partnered with the Pfizer-backed CDC Foundation to increase “vaccine uptake” and maintained a close relationship with US federal agencies on COVID messaging.
The tech giant has previously used hashtag blocking to censor many other topics including “#buchamassacre” (a block that it later said was a mistake), “#Revolution” (which was blocked on a July 4th weekend), and “#SaveTheChildren.”