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Facebook ordered to block posts about a PepsiCo snack in India

An order from the Delhi High Court halts posts that say Kurkure corn puffs contain plastic.

A Kurkure ad on PepsiCo India's website.

A Kurkure ad on PepsiCo India's website.

Screenshot by Marrian Zhou/CNET

PepsiCo got a court order in India to have social networks take down posts that say the company's Kurkure corn puffs contain plastic.

PepsiCo obtained an interim order from the Delhi High Court to block these posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, reported Indian site Medianama. The defamation suit reportedly applies to years worth of posts on the social media platforms, including 3,412 Facebook links, 20,244 Facebook posts, 242 YouTube videos, six Instagram links and 562 tweets.

The court issued an order June 1 that granted PepsiCo's petition to "take down, remove, or block/restrict access to the URLs/weblinks ... [that] contain a video disparaging the product 'KURKURE'." Then a second order, issued Monday, said the interim order will stay till the next hearing, on Nov. 14.

Some users of the social networks said they'd received emails from the companies regarding their posts about Kurkure.

PepsiCo didn't respond to a request for comment, but it told Medianama that though Kurkure is a "100 percent safe vegetarian snack" made from rice, corn and other common kitchen ingredients, the rumors about plastic have "plagued the brand." The company said its legal moves were designed to protect its brand equity.

"When governments believe that something on the internet violates their laws, they may contact companies like Facebook and ask us to restrict access to that content. Similarly, we may receive orders to restrict content from courts. If after careful legal review, we determine the order is valid and enforceable then we might make the content unavailable in the relevant country and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted," said a Facebook spokesperson in an email statement. "We are also transparent about the content we restrict pursuant with local law in our Transparency Report."

Twitter and Google didn't respond to requests for comment on the court's order.

First published on July 26, 5:22 p.m. PT.

Updates on July 27, 5:37 a.m. PT: Adds Facebook spokesperson statement.