India has banned TikTok, along with a spate of other Chinese apps. But its social media problems are homegrown – and go far beyond any one program. The country, with more than 500 million active Internet users, is the largest single market for popular applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook. …Now a new genre of video rants threatens to stoke further hate and anger. In July, four Indian YouTubers were arrested for threatening to violently rape a female comedian, Agrima Joshua
The arrests shone light on a new genre of social media content: selfie videos shot by nationalistic social media influencers, usually young men, often in their cars, delivering rants laced with expletives and violent threats. They have followings ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions, and a list of targets that ranges from influencers in Pakistan to rival right-wingers to critics of the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But their favorite targets are women, and their abuse-filled rants are full of threats of harassment and sexual violence.
These videos are circulated on a range of platforms, but it’s YouTube that encourages this content most and has handed out accolades to the creators of violent rants. One of the two YouTubers arrested for the threats, a 26-year-old man named Shubham Mishra with close to 300,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, was awarded a Silver Creator Award last year by YouTube.