For a social media influencer, the chances of being misunderstood are high: Dr Rupa Murthy

US-based Indian social media influencer Dr Rupa Murthy was harassed on social media a couple of years ago for supporting PM Narendra Modi and post several harsh trolls, she lodged a formal complaint. The matter is still in court but given the ongoing pandemic, the case continues to get delayed, but she intends to pursue it. When she complained to the cops repeatedly back then, no action was taken, so finally the National Commission for women intervened and a FIR was filed. She says that she is still in touch with her lawyer, but because of the pandemic, she hasn’t been able to pursue the case. But she intends to.

Being a social media influencer is not easy, says Murthy, as she adds that social media is a vulnerable space and it demands a lot of patience and tolerance. She explains that the amount of emotions you can articulate while writing a post or countering someone is very limited. So for a social media influencer, the chances of being misjudged and misunderstood are high. Also, social media offers an anonymity of sorts, so people say mean and vulgar things which they might not say to someone’s face. It is easy to attack someone using a fake ID, and get away with it.

Murthy feels that one has to be responsible as a social media influencer because people follow you. She adds that the psychological impact of trolls can be devastating. The impact trolls have on you depends on what kind it is. “If it is something as common as calling someone a ‘bhakt’ or ‘ghulam’, it’s bearable. Problems start when the trolls are sexually explicit, when they spread vulgar rumours or indulge in severe character assassination,” says Murthy, adding that while she considers herself mentally strong to deal with such vulgar trolls, she knows women who have been on the verge of committing suicide and men who have gone into depression.