What took the Internet by Storm in 2016?

2016 has been an era in itself. An era when mass genocide failed to move the world. Note 7 explosions did.

The sufferings of the affected were very clearly visible on social media but all ‘Digitally Social’ population was concerned about was- “Can we troll that?”

In India, the situation was no different. The year began with multiple question marks on the tolerance of the citizens towards minorities and immigrants. The term anti-national was in vogue. Every minute and insignificant issue saw unnecessary outrage and led to the loss of peace.

1.      Anti-Nationalism of JNUSU.

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Initially, authoritarians accused JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar of sedition against India. Authorities claimed that he recited anti-national slogans, and propagated offensive agendas. He was arrested by Delhi police on charges of sedition.

Though it was later discovered that the videos which were submitted as proof were doctored. The rally was held protesting against the hanging of Afzal Guru in 2013 and it solely promoted the removal of societal ills of communalism, nothing anti-national there. Hence, in the midst of intolerance, social media lashed out the authorities as well.

2.      Tanmay Bhat did not see that coming.

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Tanmay Bhat’s “funny man” brains did not get the usual applaud this time when he swapped the faces of two maestros, worshiped by a huge number of people- Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. The conversation between the two did not suit the humor of the fans well and the outrage made May 2016, memorable.

Snapchat stories last for 24 hours, this one lasted for weeks. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackrey actually filed FIR against the comedian.

Then came Rio Olympics 2016.

3.      Another gold by Shobha De (if tweeting was a sport in Rio 2016).

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Athletes sent by India for Rio Olympics 2016 could not win many medals and it was indeed disappointing for the nation. But columnist Shobha De was probably hit by the idea that the Olympians who fought against all odds to make it to the top did it for their amusement.screenshot-110

Social media made a note to give her a hard time for this and trolled her till she apologized.

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4.      One person. One gold.

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Above is definitely not a policy which Olympics or the world follows. Then again England might be secretly trying to make it work as Piers Morgan, a popular British journalist managed to offend Indians by expressing the baseless comparison between the population of a country and the number of medals it won at the Olympics.

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5.      Pakistan could not hold back.

“Finally one of the 119 competitors that India sent to Rio has won a medal – a bronze – now see how they portray it as if they won 20 golds.”

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A tweet by Omar R Qureshi, a senior journalist from Pakistan. The tweet was indeed offensive to Indians and was taken care of by various twitteraties including Amitabh Bachchan.

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6.      The legend of “Legion”

The grim months of November and December (thanks to demonetization) were lit up by the group of internet hackers called ‘legion’. They began by hacking the twitter accounts of Rahul Gandhi and Congress party’s Media Liaison Rachit Seth. The stint was all Trolls and Giggles.

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The group proved that Cyber Security is nothing more than a joke in India when they hacked the twitter accounts of Industrialist Vijay Mallya and NDTV journalists Barkha Dutt and Ravish Kumar.screenshot-114

 

Critical information was excavated out of these accounts by the hackers, bits and pieces of which were posted by them. They threatened to release more than one terabyte of strategically crucial data if harmed.

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They made everyone wonder if privacy on the internet is, in fact, a myth.

7.      New memes for Salman Khan.

“When I used to walk out of that ring, it used to be actually like a raped woman walking out.”

Social media didn’t give Salman Khan any room to breathe when he, in an interview, compared his situation while shooting for wrestling scenes in Sultan with that of raped women. Though, within moments he realized his mistake and clarified, “It feels like the most difficult….I couldn’t take steps. I couldn’t take steps.”

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It was an error, later rectified. So why lash him out for a statement he made unintentionally?

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Possibly, the acquittal of Salman from all previous charges against him is the latent reason behind the revulsion he faced. No prizes for guessing whether he was trolled for that as well.

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8.      I Am A Troll.

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Sadhawi Khosla once blew the whistle accusing BJPs cyber cell of causing and leading the social media outrages which downgrade and violate the standards at which politics on social media works. Her acquisitions were again voiced by Swati Chaturvedi in her latest book I Am A Troll.

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The book claimed that BJP is manufacturing social media outrages and wars to suit their needs. They are following and supporting twitter handles which are abusing the stance of other politicians. Arvind Khosla, IT Cell Head of BJP is accused of running the machinery.

All being said in the book, there is no concrete evidence which justifies the allegations.

9.      Is George Orwell’s book Animal Farm about animals?

The world knows that it is not, except Shilpa Shetty. Otherwise, she would not have ever recommended it in the curriculum of children to teach them to love and care for animals.

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10. RaGa’s Saga: from “earthquake” to ‘Khoon Ki dalali’.

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Yes, an earthquake was promised to the world by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, which if did occur, went unfelt. Yet “troll of the year”- Rahul Gandhi must have felt it, as the speech he made left the audiences in fits of laughter and enraged at the same time.

The points he stated left even 12-year-olds abashed.

Whether it is ‘Prime Minister’s Fair and Lovely Yojna’, slogans of ‘Arhar Modi’ he promoted amongst farmers, or his ‘Khoon Ki Dalali’ statement post-surgical strikes, Rahul Gandhi doesn’t miss an opportunity of exercising his freedom of speech and establishing his inability to deal with India’s politics.

11. How can we skip him?

Though the current government rarely takes any notice of him, social media does not leave a stone unturned to find out what muffler-clad visionary is up to. Yes, it is Arvind Kejriwal who amongst other statements became a favorite amongst troll makers when he released a video addressing the aam aadmi, that Narendra Modi is a threat to his life. In the video, he voiced his fear-

“They have eliminated everybody. Do you see the Congress raising their voice? Rohit Vemula was killed? Everybody is silent… But they are not successful in eliminating the AAP and its motivation.” He added, “I am telling all the AAP supporters. Discuss within your families and brace yourselves for a huge conflict. The forces out there are so frustrated they can kill anybody, including me.”

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If AAP is a bunch of self-obsessed politicians, then be it.

12. Movies did not work for them but entertainment is their life!

Actors Bobby Deol and Ashmit Patel might have accepted their defeat on the big screen and therefore they tried their luck in becoming DJs but how could Twitter let that happen unless its users trolled them to heart’s content.

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13. Keeping silent didn’t help either.

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Filmmakers since the last couple of years were serving a good blend of Pakistani and Indian actors in their movies. Yet it did not end well for them as with the tensions growing at the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistani actors not expressing a word to share the sorrow of India and its martyrs left the country divided on whether to accept these artists further or not.

The politicians grabbed the opportunity and made the most out of it. Ostensibly, it does not matter how developed a country is, issues related to social groups, religion and nationality work wonders with an outraged nation.

As a result, actors left (read escaped) India and Filmmaker Karan Johar released a video apologizing to have cast them in his film.

 

14. Udta Punjab made it to the top without a cut.

 

Highlighting the issues of drug abuse in the regions of Punjab and political and judicial involvement into it, Anurag Kashyap’s Udta Punjab was put on hold by CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalini. He suggested 94 cuts in the film before its release. We all know that didn’t happen and neither could the censor board escape the trolls. #udtaPahlaj was trending on Twitter.screenshot-99screenshot-98

Above are few of many instances which were joked about on the net and spread like wild-fire on social media. Some were asked for while others uncalled for. ‘A troll here, a troll there’ has been the spirit of the ‘go digital’ 2016.

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