Narendra Modi’s hashtag problem – By Salil Tripathi
….To be sure, hashtags do inspire violence. The kind of hashtags popular on Twitter in India, some that India’s loud and intemperate cable networks have used, would make Fox News squirm. Vilifying Muslims for undermining Indian unity or spreading the pandemic, luring Hindu women and tricking them into marriage and converting them, and describing government critics as anti-national agents of enemies are only some of the themes in the many hashtags popularized on the Internet in recent years….
The Indian government has a more urgent problem: how to stop the viral spread of messaging that contradicts its version of truth, its assertions and claims – that which conflicts with its perspective or ridicules its policies….
India already leads the world in shutting down the internet, and it also demands more content to be taken down from the internet than most other countries. Creating a controllable, domestic intranet may make the government feel more secure, but it would be at a huge cost, adversely impacting India’s economy as well as its global reputation: a Pyrrhic victory….