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Big Tech & The Globalization of Protest

“I’m just a phone call away,” said PM Narendra Modi to the agitating farmers, while expressing pain over the vandalisation of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the U.S.; and assuring the law will take its own course in the Republic Day Tractor Rally violence that injured about 400 cops in New Delhi. What the government received was a Tweet from Hollywood pop star Rihanna on #farmerprotest: “Why aren’t we talking about this?” Soon, this became a synchronised tweet assault from other international influencers – with Indian celebrities and politicians joining in, taking their own ideological positions. Shouldn’t the government dismiss this tweet-burst as an innocuous thing? They didn’t. Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s office issued a statement: “Temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible.” Let’s accept that the Globalization of Protest is on the ascendency – while the other real trade Globalization is weakening. With the Big Tech providing megaphones to new Transnational entities and Influencers, the George Floyd protest riots in the U.S. became a massive global BLM campaign. And Turkey President RT Erdogan’s call for a boycott of French goods triggered massive anti-French rallies.