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Cause and effect Facebook-style

While the world is crediting Facebook for triggering the Arab revolution, do Facebook groups in India say anything about top of mind causes for young Indians? Malvika Nanda writes.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2011 00:54 IST
Malvika Nanda

While the world is crediting Facebook for triggering the Arab revolution, do Facebook groups in India say anything about top of mind causes for young Indians? Crime touches a chord - the pages that have sprung up for Radhika Tanwar and Aarushi Talwar illustrate this - but it's the ideological issues that have made it to our top five list. Anja Kovas, a fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bengaluru-based research organisation, analyses the success of these causes

1) Save the Tiger: The biggest Indian group on Facebook 'Save the Tiger' has a following of over 8,43,663 people.

Content talk: The site tracks news items about the tiger and features comments and quotes about the animal. The group's motto 'Read between the stripes' encourages members to 'like' conservation.

Pages: As the most popular cause, this also links to over 30 pages such as the 'Save the Leopard', Save the Tiger Fund' and 'Only 1411 left in India'

Anja-speak: This campaign was successful because several celebrities were a part of the cause. TV campaigns and celebs always ensure a larger audience. Also world over, environmental issues triggers stronger reactions.

2) Terrorism: It's a subject that affects every single Indian, and 'Stop Terrorism in India' has already clocked 1, 39, 436 members.

Content talk: "If you want to sleep peacefully then wake up now…" It's comments like these that would best explain what the group is all about. Members of this group share videos of 26/11, violence in Kashmir, Salman Khan, anti-hunger campaign and other subjects like peace, liberty and justice.

Pages: Other related pages are 'Stop terror in India and specially Mumbai'. 'Stop Terror in India, Pakistan'

Anja-speak: The Mumbai attacks shook the nation and touched a chord with everyone across age groups, classes and beliefs.

3) Kashmir: Over four lakh Kashmiris have been displaced from their state since 1989-90. It's not surprising then that Kashmir comes third in our list of causes. 'Frontline Kashmir' supports the 'freedom movement' and has about 24,000 members.

Content talk: Peppered with calls for freedom, the comments on the walls also speak out against separatists.

Pages: For various viewpoints on Kashmir, also check out Amnesty International, Revolt, I Cry, We Love Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Anja-speak:Facebook played an important role in letting young Kashmiris voice their opinions online. It's obviously a platform for young Kashmiris who want to air grievances.

4) Corruption: Despite the fact that corruption is one of the foremost issues in India today, the largest group against corruption 'India Against Corruption' has only 16,499 members.

Content talk: From information on marches to news articles, this page deals with anything related to corruption in India. A much talked about issue on this page is the CWG and the 2G scam.

Pages: Do check out the 'Commonwealth Jhel' page as well and the 'I Paid A Bribe' and 'Choosna Bandh Campaign'!

Anja-speak: It's a topic that unites people across classes in India. With big scams unfolding every other day, people are definitely interested in such a group.

5) Free Binayak Sen: With 8,479 'likes', the Facebook page 'Release Dr Binayak Sen: Protest against mockery of justice against him', a cause by the same name that is supported by 7,745 people, stands as the most popular group.

Content talk: The campaign on Facebook is an offshoot of a section of society that believes Dr Sen has been denied justice by the state and speaks of all related matters including the sedition law.

Pages: There are 15 groups and 22 pages related to Dr Binayak Sen, including 'Free Binayak Sen! Repeal Section 124A IPC' and 'Free Binayak Sen - Global Campaign'.

Anja-speak: This campaign owes its success, in terms of its outreach, to years of determination and relentless action by those that support Dr Sen.

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