Thursday, 29 December 2016

Online Trolls

Reading news online has been a habit since long.  Earlier I used to read also the comments that would be posted below the news article. This was a continued habit from reading the 'letters to the editor' which appeared in the print version.  However, I stopped reading the comments a few years since.  Purely for the venom they spit and for the hatred with which they utter words.  I've long been convinced that these comments were purposely posted by appointed people, just to tarnish the image of anything worthwhile.  Most often there would not be any rhyme or reason for their hateful tirade.

Yesterday there was an article in The Times (UK) by a person describing the online (malign) campaign of the ruling party BJP in India.  A similar one appeared in The Guardian on Dec. 27, 2016. Firstpost (dated Dec. 28, 2016) begins thus
It's something that will eventually catch up with you. From disparaging and vituperative remarks to disgusting sexual innuendos, rape and death threats, hateful memes and an unapologetic and arrogant attitude, trolling is a routine affair these days. There is hardly any originality in it anymore. 
But when the ruling government of a democracy carefully constructs, contrives and calibrates a social media culture where dissent towards a leader or an ideology or even a party is reciprocated in the worst possible manner, it is a matter of extreme worry and it becomes obligatory to initiate a dialogue and debate and especially when it becomes part of our daily existence.
It confirms my view that there is a systematic hijacking of the social media and the internet open polls by political parties for backing their sinister motives and worse, silencing the democratic voice of dissent. A clever move indeed but a very dangerous one.  No opinion contrary to the ruling party is spared.  If the person speaking against any policy or decision of the party is a woman, the text is at times very nasty.  Every news or incident, political or not, is somehow commented upon to praise the party of choice and shower abuses on anyone dissenting.

People of India are still very gullible when it comes to having convictions and forming opinions. They'd rather go with the majority than stand alone or take a stand against.  In such a context to sway one's opinion in someone's favour, such smear campaigns work extremely well.

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