A tweet by Rihanna, an international pop singer, supporting ongoing farmers’ protest citing a news item by ‘CNN’ against the three recently brought Farm laws in India created a storm on the social media platform Twitter. Many Indian celebrities, that were critical of these farm laws started re-tweeting the tweet and thanked Rihanna for her support. A Twitter war erupted between the supporter and critics of the farm law. It is not the first time an international public figure has shown support for the protest in India. Many celebrities previously also supported the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought by the current Indian government. Greta Thunberg also supported the Farmers’ protest through her tweet.
The support and protest by the celebrities can influence the masses in favor of or against any movement. Rihanna commands a strong 101.7 Million followers on Twitter, and her tweet made the farmers’ protest in India trended on Twitter. The support and disagreement on an issue should not be based on selective news items and opinions. Before expressing the view in public, Celebrities should understand the matter first. As far as Rihanna is concerned, she certainly knows very little about India and its farmer. She must have tweeted in support after reading some article online on the farm laws, and ongoing protest without reading the Farm Laws. The jury is still out on the three farm laws, but it is clear that reforms in the Indian agriculture sector are long-sought, and these laws are in that direction.
The Twitter Protestors.
It is very convenient to object to matters that would not affect you significantly. The social media platforms have developed to share opinions on different subjects, but it is now being used to promote propaganda and create false public opinion. Followers of the celebrities on social media accept their opinion as facts, and people with inherent agendas use these tweets to promote false propaganda. Greta Thunberg is a respectful social activist but, her knowledge of Indian farmers and social complications is limited. She tweeted in support of farmers’ protest but did not describe the reason for support except attaching a toolkit created by a pro-Khalistani group. A lady is also recently arrested by the Bangalore police for editing the toolkit posted by the Thunberg. Greta Thunberg belongs to Sweden, which has one of the highest GNP and Taxation rates. About half of Swedish forestland is privately owned and about one-fourth company-owned. Both the personalities mentioned in this piece come from developed countries and do not know the realities of the countries like India. Neither have they had an experience of working in or about India. India is a developing nation with a complicated social system where people still give preference to caste and religion over talent and skills. The opinions of the outsiders, those who do not understand the issues, only make matter worse. The celebrities rather than putting a few lines on social media should give a brief statement about their understanding of the issue, which would also help in furthering their point of view.
The stature of celebrities gave them the power of changing mass opinion but at the same time, they can also destroy order and peace by supporting misinformation. Daily a new ‘hashtag trends on Twitter because Twitter and other social media platforms are meant to make money, and the celebrities are the most prominent beneficiaries of this machine due to their reach. This reach should not be used to serve the half-truths or merely to satisfy the audience waiting for the morning message from their favorite celebrity. Sponsors and social media pay most of the celebrities for posting on social media to increase the traffic. Nothing can drive more traffic than a post about a controversial topic. Greater discussion on controversy means more traffic and more traffic means more money.
The opinions are welcome in the modern political system, but opinions based on the half-truths, and opinions of the non-participants without sufficient knowledge must be overlooked. The influencers must understand their responsibility towards their followers, and should make statements only after appreciating the complete situation.