Zomato vs Internet Trolls Round Two: The Swara Bhasker Edition

Social Commentary

Zomato vs Internet Trolls Round Two: The Swara Bhasker Edition

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Zomato and online trolls have history. Last year, when the food delivery company announced, “Food has no religion” in response to customer complaining that the delivery executive was Muslim, they attracted the ire of right wing trolls on the internet. And now, they’re back for Round Two, as right wingers are making #BoycottZomato a Twitter trend once again. So what did Zomato do this time? Merely respond to a tweet posted by actor Swara Bhasker, another favourite target of the right wingers of the internet.

Bhasker had tagged Zomato after the company’s advertisements appeared on Republic Bharat, something that was noticed by Defund the Hate, an online movement to put pressure on companies that advertise on news channels putting out divisive, charged content. Bhasker, as a regular user of Zomato, asked the company to reconsider its association with Republic, as she was uncomfortable with her money being used “even indirectly” to fund the content on Republic. Zomato responded to Bhasker on Twitter, rather noncommittally, but that was enough to bring out the haters.

The mere idea that Zomato would entertain a request from Swara Bhasker annoyed right wingers so much that they began threatening another boycott. Some mentioned the amount they spent annually on the app, warning Zomato about the volume of business they would lose, while others went directly after Bhasker, insulting the actor and warning Zomato not to associate with her.

As the trend gathers steam on Twitter, Zomato has remained silent. They do have experience in this arena, as these social media-led boycotts of brands have rarely led to any tangible impact. Just last year, Zomato was facing a different boycott, which clearly failed, since Zomato is still around to be boycotted again this year. Will this time be any different? Possibly, but the odds remain slim.