Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The art of opining

If at all there is a place to venture out with your opinion, internet should be the last, if not never, on the list. Especially social media. Such has been the abuse and opposition from trolls on SM platforms that, even to state your name can get you into controversy, based on your other opinions. The reason behind this post is due to the ongoing hue and cry over a lady and her comments on a south Indian star’s well known dud movie, which incidentally is acknowledged as a flop even by the star’s own fans, the response from the online community of self-proclaimed fans of the star and the aftermath. The effort taken by the trolls (as they are collectively and individually labelled as), who dug up several years old posts of that lady and established a criminal conspiracy behind her actions in targeting their hero alone for mockery and criticism, would put tax officials and CBI to shame. Armed with random links between posts scattered across several years, the trolls went hell bent on shaming every single person remotely or closely associated with the lady and spammed her space with choicest of abuses that would shame a sailor.

Is the actor really responsible for every Ram, Rahim and Robert who claim to be his fan and take up cudgel on his name? Is the lady trying to seek attention by riling up the crazy in the mob? Could she have taken the easier way out by removing the post, the moment she could sense the tension brewing? Even if she was right or wrong in her comment or her continued targeting of the star, does that justify such blatant abuses and name calling and shaming by the trolls? Are they really person or fake profiles created to vent out frustration? Are those profiles being maintained and paid for by unknown sources to make viral sensations and quick promo (this could be for either side concerned)? Whenever there is a teaser or a trailer releases, there are lot of background forces that work overtime in ensuring fake hits and likes and comments for those videos. Are such forces again at work here in trolling on behalf of the actor?

Note that, the actor in contention here is just another case in study and is not referenced for his purpose alone. Whenever there are any injustice or crazy reaction by the fringe, the mainstream leader of that group is always the target for not having control over his gang. No one bothers to figure out if the online profiles are actually real or even if real should the icon/leader/actor be held responsible for every single comment by every single fan/member of their club/party, begs a question. Even if they come out condoning such acts and disassociate themselves with such people/profile/activities, will that in anyway absolve them of all these sins or will it clear the problem for the person getting trolled? It may only help in the big guys, washing away their hands of such issues. Should one sit down and let the muck flow over head for a simple opinion, which by happenstance, trod over some fragile egos? Definitely not. This is where, the need for stricter and more stringent law enforcement comes into picture. Unlike any other media, anything on internet is traceable back to its owner with reasonable level of certainty except in case of brainiac nut cases who cover up their tracks. Such trolls should be taken down, every single time and every single one of them and should be punished per law and to be made example of, which would definitely set as a deterrent for others, for the vast majority of trolls are basically cowards, hiding behind fake profiles. If they are made aware that they can be and will be caught, that fear and subsequent shame would deter them from doing such heinous things.

There is a scene in the movie “Notting Hill”, when Julia Roberts gets angry with Hugh Grant over his comment, not to give that much importance to Paparazzi media. She would respond that anything that goes on print is irreversible and would stay on forever. It’s a lesson that applies for social media as well I guess. As long as you’ve internet and search history option, none of your comments can be claimed harmless and whatever you said or posted, will be used against you at any point of time in your life or as long as the profile survives. Freedom of expression is often the most misused of freedoms. With social media touching and reaching individuals like never before and unlike any other medium, it’s all the more important to enjoy our freedom responsibly.


Ramesh said...

I have no idea of who the star or the lady or what the controversy is, but on the subject matter of your post, I definitely have an opinion.

Nothing has changed with the advent of social media except that there is ease and anonymity for everybody to express their opinion. In the day of only verbal communication, it was just plain gossip, no different from the trolls of today. In the press, you got yellow journalism. With TV came highly biased channels like Fox News and our own party channels. In the
internet, we now have an explosion of trolling.

Freedom of speech is a very precious right. Even with the side effects of trolling , we should guard the right. If it becomes extreme, the laws of libel as well as the very strict provisions of the Indian IT Act are enough to protect individuals.

Venkat said...

Most of the trolls are just money making technique, pick up any hot issue and add fuel to it, so that troll can give some monetary return. most of the time negative troll viral fast, they know this technique. today social media trending so not be taken seriously.

gils said...

@thala: vambu pesarathu has its own impact but trolling on social media gets repeated with every retweet or shared post on fb and since the audience is much wider in scope the potential for damage is far reaching. for strange reason..our people are yet to use the IT acts as they should be used. lack of awareness or infrastructure may be

@venkat: fair point. THis has almost became an alternate source of income