This is the first time I can recall a Facebook post ever leading to small riots, but there you go.
Shiv Sena is a Hindu nationalist party in India. The party recently joined a ruling coalition that has come to power in India as a result of elections that concluded two weeks ago. The party is not without its controversy, and has been linked to several violent acts over the past few decades.
Within the past few days, a variety of “derogatory” and insulting Facebook posts began to circulate in India. The posts attacked Shivaji Maharaj (a 17th century Warrior King) and Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena. The controversial post led to protests in Pune, India’s 7th largest metropolitan area. In some cases, those protests led to rioting, with supporters of Shiv Sena damaging eight buses by throwing stones at them.
Ultimately, the account that originated the controversial post was blocked by India, with the help of Facebook. A FIR (First Information Report, or police complaint) was logged against an unidentified person for making the post, which is being investigated by cyber security in India.
There are a variety of frightening implications in this story. First is the fact that we have clearly hit an age where a Facebook post can cause riots among partisan die-hards. I’ve never heard of a comparable story in America, but there certainly is violence and murders that occur because of Facebook posts. Second, Facebook and the Indian government conspired to block an account that posted a controversial political cartoon. Of course, that cartoon was causing violence, but I would hope that such a situation would not occur in America.
Any thoughts? Let me know in the comments!