Internet trolls kept the social media abuzz in 2016 and spared none, be it Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, cricketer Mohammad Shami or even ‘Saifeena’ , unleashing posts and memes that ranged from controversial to hilarious to bizarre.
Demonetization was one of the most trending topics of the year 2016. Following its announcement on November 8, Twitter went into a meltdown and within hours, trolls produced a goldmine of memes and posts on the social media.
Commenting on long queues at ATMs and banks, one Twitter user Sahil Shah said, “Don’t know if line to ATM or Shirdi.” A meme showed Modi’s face photoshopped on a painting of French Queen Marie Antoinette with a caption reading Modi Antoinette. It said, “I they don’t have notes, let them use plastic.”
One Karthick posted, “The volume of memes generated within 1 hour of PM’s announcement shows that unemployment is a bigger problem than black money,” alluding to the number of posts and memes that surfaced online post demonetization.
Recently, Shami was attacked by trolls after he posted a picture with his wife Hasin Jahan, who was wearing a sleeveless gown. They asked him to ensure that his wife is dressed modestly in a hijab.
However, other social media users, including cricketer Mohammed Kaif, lyricist Javed Akhtar and his actor son Farhan came to Shami’s defence. Kaif tweeted a screenshot of the critical comments saying, “The comments are really really Shameful. Support Mohammed Shami fully. There are much bigger issues in this country. Hope sense prevails.”
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s son Taimur
Similarly, Bollywood actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan came under fire from social media users over naming of their newborn son, Taimur. People took umbrage saying it was the name of a Turco- Mughal emperor who invaded India in the late 14th century. They also called for boycott of the actors’ films and compared Taimur to Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.
Some users, however, mocked the choice of name in a light hearted manner. One tweet said, “I think instead of screwing up Mumbai station names, the Maha government should change Taimur Ali Khan’s name, that too on priority basis!!” An RJ from Kolkata Mir Afsar Ali attracted online trolls for wishing everyone a merry Christmas but the radio jockey hit back at his detractors in a Facebook post that went viral, saying he was shocked by some of the comments advising why a Muslim should not be “celebrating/wishing” on the festival.
Lately, even political leaders seem to have taken to trolling people. Rahul Gandhi, who himself is a frequent target of trolls, took a dig at the government over the frequent changes in policies following demonetization. He posted a picture of a pole with a cluster of traffic lights, saying, “Government orders after demonetization.” Soon after the post, a parody account of the Congress leader, @RoflGandhi_, tweeted, “Bhai thoda sa toh gap rakho apne aur mere account mei.”
Trolls also poked fun at Rahul Gandhi when his Twitter account was hacked, with one user saying, “#RahulGandhi’s account hasn’t been hacked, it’s just that for the first time he himself is tweeting from that account.” “So finally staff at @OfficeOfRG have taken that phone back from #RahulGandhi,” another one tweeted.
Trolls also took a dig at Kejriwal, with one Manish Jain saying, “#RahulGandhi Someone please also hack Kejriwal’s account. Won’t be difficult. Password must be modimodimodi .” Memes about Sonam Gupta also kept social media buzzing as users endlessly discussed whether she was ‘bewafa’ or not. It all started with a Rs 10 note on which someone had written ‘Sonam Gupta bewafa hai ‘. Soon the picture went viral, catching the attention of trolls and spawning memes. Pictures of currencies of different countries with ‘Sonam Gupta bewafa hai ‘ written on them also turned up online.
The Delhi Chief Minister, who has been nicknamed Mufflerman by netizens, took to Twitter to make an official announcement of winters hitting Delhi. “Thand aa gayi hai. Muffler nikal agay hai. Aap bhi apna khyal rakhien,” said the AAP chief.
Even the favourite of social media, Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, expertly trolled a man who had sought her help in replacing a defective refrigerator. She replied to his tweet, saying, “Brother I cannot help in matters of a refrigerator. I am very busy with human beings in distress.”
Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty too was trolled on Twitter after she said that George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” should be included in the syllabus as “it will teach the little ones to love and care for animals”. Twitterati also did not take kindly the statement and #ShilpaShettyReviews trending on Twitter with people posting jokes about other books and movies. “The Mummy Returns is a great sequel… To Stepmom. #ShilpaShettyReviews,” a Twitter user wrote.
Similarly, another user tweeted, “Fifty Shades of Grey is an amazing coloring book. Children will love it.” Social media users also did not spare director Ashutosh Gowarikar over the historical inaccuracies in his film “Mohenjadaro”. “Relax guys, its an Ashutosh Gowarikar film. By the time he was done shooting Indus Valley got iron tools, horses and silk. #MohenjoDaro,” Twitter user Subhashish said. “Currently Independence Day looks more historically and scientifically accurate than Mohenjo Daro,” Mihir Fadnavis said.
A man was trolled by the Twitterati when he tweeted Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, asking for diapers for his toddler with most users requesting the minister not to pay attention to such “nonsense”. One user asked if the “Railways was a diaper service company”.