Parle-G Records Highest Ever Sales During The Covid19 Lockdown, Trends On Twitter

Dunking a Parle-G in a cup of tea, and delicately extricating it from the tea without letting it sink to the bottom may be a required skill in India, but the biscuit has only come out on tops.  The 82-year old brand says it recorded its highest ever sales of all time during the last two months – an impressive feat considering how most other businesses have suffered with sales plummeting through the lockdown.  And while the company did not share exact sales numbers, the development was confirmed by Parle to several media outlets.

“We’ve grown our overall market share by nearly 5%… And 80– 90% of this growth has come from the Parle-G sales. This is unprecedented,” said Mayank Shah, category head at Parle Products. 

At Rs.5 a pack, the humble brand has penetrated across the length and breadth of India, and complemented the national beverage of tea since 1938. When India declared its one month long Covid lockdown beginning March 25th, people started hoarding food, and Parle-G was a classic choice, so much so it was sometimes the first item to be sold out at various online and offline supermarkets.  During the lockdown, due to lack of availability of many other food items or restaurant services, it sometimes became a whole meal by itself. The biscuit packets also supported the thousands of migrants who traveled thousands of kilometers on foot to go back home to their villages. The packets were also distributed by good samaritans and Parle-G itself during various Covid19 support activities to both humans, and for animal relief work, adding to its utility.

On the supply side, the company had been making concerted efforts to expand the distribution channels and boost the supply in rural areas for a few years, an undertaking that paid off during the pandemic.

India’s recent emphasis on supporting made-in-India products and brands may have a role to play in the collective celebrations on the internet over Parle’s success.  As soon as the reports of this feat came in, the brand started trending on Twitter where many netizens shared their favourite moments and memories attached with the biscuit.  It also sparked off a flurry of Parle-G memes making for a hilarious trend.

The company itself reshared some of the adulation it received from the supporters.

With its ubiquitous yellow and red packaging with the baby girl mascot that has remained largely unchanged since the brand was launched over 80 years ago, Parle-G has kept up with the growth trajectory brands of today can only hope to match. 

Jeff Bezos Defends Amazon’s Anti-Racism Stand, Takes Down Trolls In A Surprisingly Public Way

It’s not everyday you see the richest man in the world replying to an email troll, leave alone make it public. But Jeff Bezos is here to set the record straight.

In a way that’s arguably uncharacteristic of the Amazon head, he made public an incriminating email sent to him by an individual along with his own response to it.  The bone of contention is Amazon’s very public support to the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the wave of anti-racism movements across the USA following the death of George Lloyd. Hundreds of American companies have issued their statements on the issue, confirming their support to the Black Lives Matter movement and endorsing their commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Amazon was one of the first major American companies to issue a public statement and take a stand on the issue.  “the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black People in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black Community – our employees, customers, partners in the fight against against racism and injustice”, the company had tweeted on May 31st.  Amazon had followed on its statement with an announcement to commit a donation of $10mn to the cause.

The Amazon website too went on to carry a black header headlined “Black Lives Matter.” For a company as big as Amazon to have taken a stand across its properties is bold. However not everyone was as impressed. Amazon’s stand came with its share of critics and detractors. The emailer in question contested that Amazon’s support to Black Lives Matter belittled its support to other communities.  “I’m for voicing their opinions and standing up for what you believe in but for your company to blast this on the website is very offensive to me and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from the others. ALL lives matter.”, the emailer said.

jeff bezos response

“Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. Black Lives Matter speaks to racism and the disproportionate risk that black people face in our law enforcement and justice system.  I have a 20 year old son and I simply don’t worry that he might be choked to death while being detained one day. Black parents can’t say the same.” Bezos shared the reply to this email on his Instagram, reinstating his belief in the cause.

Bezos went on to state that despite all the hatred he’d been receiving, his stance won’t change.  This wasn’t the only email Bezos shared. Another email from a ‘Dave’ who called Bezos “the perfect ass hole” was met with a perfect takedown. The customer lashed out at the Amazon CEO in a wildly abusive email, for taking an anti-racism stand, and threatened to stop using Amazon.   “There have been a number of sickening but not surprising responses in my inbox since my last post. This sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows. It’s important to make it visible. This is just one example of the problem.” Bezos said, sharing the screengrab of Dave’s email.

 

jeff bezos response "happy to lose a customer like you"“And, Dave, you’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.” came the kicker.

The Amazon CEO isn’t particularly known to be effusive, he barely gives out public speeches, his last tweet was in Feb, and the high-profile honcho keeps a famously low profile on social media. But seeing Bezos take a bold stand against an issue dividing his home country, and then stand behind it, even if it means naming and shaming his detractors, cements Amazon’s commitment to the cause. Perhaps, it also serves as a great lesson to business heads on how to use their massive personal platforms to be in sync with the voice of the company they head.

Facebook Rolls Out New Layout With A Dark Mode Option, Bigger Icons, Less Blue And More Focus On Covid19

Facebook has unveiled a new web layout for its platform just as June has rolled in. The redesign is part of the larger rebranding campaign of the social media giant early last year which purported to reflect its redirection towards “privacy focussed communications”. Even though the new look was available to a few users as early as April this year, it’s now been rolled out to a larger base in what is probably a staggered rollout. 

The company had announced the change on Twitter on May 8th.

The new layout comes with changes such as bigger CTA buttons, and a two-column page as opposed to a 3-column page.

 

facebook old layout
New Layout: OfficeChai Facebook page

 

New Layout: OfficeChai Facebook page
New Layout: OfficeChai Facebook page

The top bar has become less text-heavy and more icon-dominant. The blue bar is gone and replaced with a white one.

Facebook new layout
Old layout

 

facebook UI changes
New layout

 

Quick-link icons on the left sidebar have become more prominent and colourful. Subcategories like “explore”, “shortcuts” have been done away with.  The new layout is headlined with a prominent “Covid-19 Information Centre” link on top.

facebook new icons

 

There is an option to “switch to classic Facebook’. Much like Twitter did a few months ago, an option to switch to the “Dark Mode” has also been introduced.

Facebook dark mode

 

“Facebook realized that select features were still popular on the web and should, therefore, be prioritized. The inverse was also true. Lots of pixels on the homepage were being taken up by features that don’t get a lot of usage at all. Similarly, the areas that had become important — or that Facebook expected to become pillars of the desktop experience — were buried because they didn’t fit into a design structure established years ago” Tom Occhino, director of engineering for the Facebook app, told Engadget.

In November last year, Facebook had changed its iconic all Blue logo into a minimalistic colourful one to reflect its position as not just as a social media platform, but as the collective group including the Facebook app, Whatsapp, Instagram and its many other properties. “The new company branding is designed to help us better represent the diversity of products we build, establish distinction from the Facebook app and communicate our purpose in the world.”, the company had said in a statement.

While Facebook  has continued to tweak its mobile app every now and then, the desktop version had more or less remained the same over the years which affected its design and performance over time. “The site became pretty slow and cluttered from a user-experience perspective,” Occhino said. “The technology stack that supported it didn’t receive a lot of love, and a lot of the updates and modernization that we were seeing in the mobile technology stacks.”

With a massive redesign effort focussed on its web interface – when majority of the users browse it on mobile – reinstates Facebook’s commitment to be inclusive in its approach towards all users. Even the few that still prefer to use Facebook on their desktop, or divide their time between the app and the desktop versions.

Facebook’s desktop app is where it all started for the media behemoth, and with the web redesign, its legacy might just live on a lot longer.

Boycott GoAir Trends As Cabin Crew Member Tweets Abuses Against Hindu Gods

Indian domestic airline Go Air finds itself in the middle of an internet fury as one of its alleged cabin members was caught making incendiary anti-Hindu remarks and hurting religious sentiments.

A person who identified himself as a cabin crew member at GoAir was caught sending tweets that were abusive against the Hindu Gods and the Hindu Mythology. The tweet came last night by an Asif Khan and was widely exposed today morning triggering a trend #boycottgoair with over 14,000 tweets on the topic. The tweet in question makes a lewd comment against the sacred Hindu gods of Ram and Sita. 

 

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As per his Twitter bio, the handle identified himself as an employee of Go Air airlines and his tweet was flagged to the company. 

The user has since deactivated his profile and GoAir has put out a prompt statement that it is trying to establish the identity of Asif Khan and if indeed he is an employee of the company.  “GoAir has a zero tolerance policy and it is mandatory for all GoAir employees to comply with the company’s employment rules, including social media behaviour.” the company said in a Twitter statement.

This trend comes in just as the aviation sector looks to revive itself after a two month lockdown in India in the wake of Covid19. As the airline would realise, it may not have a personal responsibility for the tweets of its employees, but that would not keep an internet backlash against the company for their offensive political and personal views.  A confirmation from the company whether the employee indeed works at the airlines is awaited and we will update the story as it comes.

Update: As of 9:43pm, GoAir has confirmed that Asif Khan was a trainee First officer with the airlines,  and has duly terminated the employee.

 

 

American Companies Take An Anti-Racism Stand En Masse Amid Countrywide Riots And Protests In The US

As the USA flares up in nationwide protests and riots in response to the death of George Floyd last week at the hands of a white police officer in an alleged act of racism, American companies are making their stand clear online.

As individuals across social media stage virtual protests, walkouts, and change their profile images to all black in an event being dubbed the “BlackTuesday”, corporate America too is doing its bit. In an unprecedented show of solidarity with the Black community against a case of systemic racism in the country, brands across sizes and industries have been taking a stand against racism and vocally endorsing their support for diversity and inclusiveness across their social media and other communication channels.

Over the last two-three days, mostly all American brands have suspended their regular marketing communications and replaced them with posts, messages, emails, and profile picture changes to reflect their stand on the issue.

Sportswear major Nike was one of the first major brands to put up a video message in support of the movement. It turned its iconic “Just do it” tagline into “For once don’t do it” with the copy “Don’t pretend there’s no problem in America.  Don’t turn your back on racism.  Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. For once don’t do it.”


View this post on Instagram

Let’s all be part of the change. ⠀ ⠀ #UntilWeAllWin

A post shared by Nike (@nike) on


Amazon US was one of the first major corporates to update its Twitter in support of the Black community in the country.

Marvel Studios followed.

Both Youtube and Twitter changed their profile image, header and bio on Twitter to stand in solidarity.

Screenshot 2020-06-03 at 10.52.29 AM

AirBnb went on to announce a $500,000 donation to the NAACP and the Black Lives Matter organizations.

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With a focus on standing for diversity and inclusion, Intuit and Salesforce too put out posts against racism.

companies showing their support for diversity and inclusion

 

Companies like Loreal, Peloton, Zillow, Spotify and others twisted their own taglines and brand messaging to fit the anti-racism narrative.

brand messaging anti racism stand

Update: On June 3rd, American toy maker giant Lego announced it’s donating $4mn to supporting black children and causes related to education children on equality.

lego supports black community

Many small companies also put out special emailers with talking points on supporting the black community, donation links, links to black literature and other support bases.

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A few notable American brands that have so far refrained from participating in the conversation about the situation are Walmart, Dell, Uber, Coke, and Pepsi.

The near synchronised brand messaging has also come with its own share of criticism. Some are accusing the brands of using the Black Lives Matter movement as a marketing prop. There’s an account that went so far as sharing a satirical meme on the boilerplate template of the stand taken by the companies on social media implying its hollowness.

It’s not the first time that companies have let their marketing feeds take a socio-political tinge. But the current massive stands taken by the companies against racism triggered by George Floyd’s unfortunate death comes as a reminder that corporates and politics can barely function in silos anymore. In a world where people are increasingly expecting the companies they support to leverage their large platforms to raise their voice, the companies that don’t, could stand to lose more than just loyalty of their customers.

Facebook, Twitter And Google Slam Trump Order That Seeks To Prevent Them From Restricting RW Voices

In a first of such moves by a politician, the US president Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that decrees a number of changes in how major social media platforms – mainly Twitter, Facebook and Youtube police and restrict certain content posted on their platforms.

The official order that was shared by Trump himself on Twitter seeks to hold tech companies responsible for only being publishers, and limit their role in censoring content – especially of a political nature that goes against their own political leanings. 

 

“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet.  This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.  When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.  They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.” the Order begins.

To put things in perspective, Trump has often spoken out against the Silicon Valley giants as being biased towards a leftist propaganda and often accused them of censoring conservative voices— charges these companies deny but Conservative internet users press against the them. Trump’s executive order seeks to redefine the scope of section 230 of US’ constitution – considered the bedrock of the internet – the law that protects tech companies from being sued over what users post.  

The Order seeks to strip the tech companies of the immunity they enjoy in being sued for policing or manipulating the content they allow on their platforms.  The Order also calls into questioning the ad spending by government agencies on platforms “that violate free speech principles. The order says complaints submitted to a White House bias-reporting form will be forwarded to the FTC and the Justice Department. And it calls for a working group to create model state legislation on “unfair or deceptive” practices.

Trump’s executive order comes quick on the heels of when Twitter added fact-checking links to two of Trump’s recent tweets about fraudulent voting, implying they were lies. Twitter later added hundreds of fact-check notes to other non-Trump tweets.

The social media companies on their part have slammed the move calling it unconstitutional. 

In a tweet Thursday evening, Twitter said that the executive order was “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said in a statement that the company believes in protecting freedom of expression along with protecting users from harmful content.

“Those rules apply to everybody,” she said. “Repealing or limiting Section 230 will have the opposite effect. It will restrict more speech online, not less.“

Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said in a statement that undermining Section 230 could hurt the economy and the United States’ role in Internet freedom. “We have clear content policies and we enforce them without regard to political viewpoint,” she said. “Our platforms have empowered a wide range of people and organizations from across the political spectrum, giving them a voice and new ways to reach their audiences.” the statement said.

If it comes into effect Trump’s Order could reshape how the internet’s social giants treat the tweets, memes, and screeds we post on our feeds, and could potentially set off a chain reaction in which similar moves could be attempted by governments elsewhere. 

Tiktok’s Playstore Rating Restored To 4.4 from 1.1 After Google Deletes Millions Of Negative Reviews Left By Outraged Users

In what seems to have been a protracted operation by Google happening over the last few days, the Android parent has deleted upto 8 million low-ratings left by TikTok users on its app. Last week after an outrage after some of the problem content posted on TikTok emerged, users had hit it with thousands of 1* ratings and negative reviews, bringing down its original rating from a 4.4 star to a 1.1 star. As of today, the Tiktok rating on Playstore is back to being 4.4 again.

While there has been no public communication from Google about this, the ratings have jumped back up after at least 6 million negative reviews were deleted by Google.

tiktok rating restoredTiktok had suffered an unprecedented outrage against its app when content exposing a viral video that purported to normalise an acid attack against a woman had been called out by the digiterati.  The user behind the video Faisal Siddiqui was immediately banned from the platform. But the action wasn’t enough for the thousands of angry people who also used the opportunity to expose various other kinds of problematic content on the viral video app.  Tiktok is regularly accused of being a hotbed for hosting content that promotes sexism, violence against women, animal abuse, patriarchy, religion based discrimination and fake news, amongst others. Its content moderation policies have been questioned.

Tiktok’s restored rating hasn’t been received well by the users who were up in arms against the app.  They are now accusing Google of having bucked under pressure to sell out to a Chinese media giant in a bid to gain its business – Tiktok has been heavily advertising its own platform as a viable advertising channel, on other social media channels like Facebook and using Google ads. Google on its part regularly conducts checks on unnatural surges and drops in ratings across its products. It recently took down over 75 million reviews on Maps that were of a malicious nature or otherwise violated its content policies. It’s possible that the sudden sprout of low ratings and negative reviews for Tiktok by users who had just downloaded the app seconds before leaving a review went against its quality policies and decided to clamp down on it. Google does proclaim on its website that reviews of a spammy nature would be acted against.

google review moderation policy

While a conflict of interest between a low rated app on the Android Playstore – owned by Google, and the advertising revenue – it could potentially stand to lose from the heavily-funded app cannot be ruled out, Google’s actions seem to be driven more by regular quality and content moderation policies rather than vested interests.

The section of users who had downrated the app understandably are not all too happy and are now rallying to reprise the #BanTiktokIndia movement. A user accused Google of being biased and claimed that while it hasn’t restored the now-deleted video of carryminati – the one that set off the whole Tiktok VS Youtube battle, it’s quickly and unethically acted in Tiktok’s favour. A tweet also highlights that the user Faisal Siddiqui has since created a new profile on the platform.

Screenshot 2020-05-29 at 12.41.03 PM

While it remains to be seen how this Tiktok saga will play out, it’s clear that an app that has been escalated to a cult status thanks to its 280 million users in India, cannot afford to upset a large section of those very users. With a political mood turning against China since the Covid19 outbreak, and the Prime Minister’s appeal to support and endorse all things made-in-India, the Chinese-backed app may find itself on thin ice for a while.

Shopify CEO Announces It’ll Turn Into A Remote Company Permanently

In what’s probably the first of the many reactionary changes induced by CoViD19,  Shopify has announced that it would keep its offices closed until 2021 and then move to being an almost digital-office only permanently. Tobi Lutke, the CEO of the ecommerce backend company, announced this in a series of tweets today.

“As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.” his tweet said.

“Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.  A common misconception about company culture is that if you have a good one, you have to hold on to it. I believe this to be wrong. If you want to have a great culture, the trick is to evolve it forward with your environment. Take the best things with you from version to version. COVID is challenging us all to work together in new ways. We choose to jump in the driver’s seat, instead of being passengers to the changes ahead. We cannot go back to the way things were. This isn’t a choice; this is the future.”, the tweets went on to read.

The company’s career page has been updated to reflect the change. It now talks about how the change will affect current and future employees.  One of the benefits of going 100% remote is the opportunity for prospective employees from anywhere in the world to work for the company – an attractive prospect given how favourably the company  fares on likability and hire-ability factors on Glassdoor. Interestingly, Shopify currently has 40 openings across engineering, UX, design, data science and product management – a refreshing sight given the number of layoffs happening elsewhere.

However Shopify is probably one of the few winners of the CoViD19 situation in which most other companies have seen their revenues and sales plummet and face an uncertain future. In a world where social distancing is being practised with a missionary zeal and physical shopping is almost dead, online shopping has come out on tops. Shopify claims to have over 8,00,000 merchants using its platform, and the number has exponentially increased in the last 2 months. According to a report, Shopify’s Sales grew by 47% to $470 million from the same quarter a year ago. Each merchant pays a sales based commission to Shopify over and above a basic fee to Shopify per month. The more ecommerce grows, the better Shopify does.  

Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Albin Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake and is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. The company operates a cloud-based ecommerce platform that’s used by merchants to run business across all sales channels, including web, tablet and mobile storefronts, social media storefronts, and brick-and-mortar and pop-up shops. Many small to medium ecommerce businesses across the world today owe their existence to Shopify. One of those prominent names is Kylie Jenner who runs her $1billion beauty empire on a store created on Shopify. Shopify is also credited for bringing the drop-shipping phenomenon worldwide over the last 4-5 years. Due to its ease  of setup and use, it’s enabled people with no to basic tech skills to set up ecommerce stores, and its in-built shipping and labeling mechanism has helped them deal with the complex logistics, creating many a remote entrepreneur. In a way it’s only fitting that a company backing the culture of running businesses remotely should go 100% remote itself.

Shopify’s announcement comes quick on the heels of Twitter that just announced that it’ll let employees work from home permanently. 

In the wake of Corona Virus pandemic that’s led to extended lockdowns, self-practised quarantines and working from home, the work paradigm has slowly but surely adapted and changed in the process. In the absence of a vaccine and a constant threat of infection in the air, more companies have decided to increase their share of the work-from-home workforce, or go completely remote altogether. After reports of lower costs, lower emissions and even higher productivity have emerged, working remotely might just end up being a normal, post-pandemic norm.

Indians Want Tiktok Banned, Bring Down App Ratings to 1* As Problematic Content Gets Exposed

With 120 million users, TikTok may just be behind Facebook and Twitter in India as far as social media platforms go but it risks losing its massive following and user base today.

A large section of the internet is rallying to get the viral video platform banned as several pieces of problematic content uploaded on the platform have emerged in the last 24 hours. The hashtags #TiktokExposed and #BanTiktok have been trending on Twitter all day with over 45k tweets on the topic. Many influencers and celebrities have spoken out against the app.

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The outrage was first triggered by a Tiktok video uploaded yesterday that seemed to promote violence against women.   The video shows popular Tiktoker Faisal Siddiqui enact a skit where he seems to be admonishing a woman for rejecting him, and avenges his rejection by throwing acid on her face.  Acid attack crimes are rampant in smaller towns and are a serious issue in India. The video, even though fictional, purported to send the wrong message by normalising the heinous act. The video’s been taken down and the user has been suspended since. But the video has led to a series of exposes of problematic content on the platform.

It all started last week when popular YouTuber CarryMinati had uploaded a video unfavourably comparing TikTok with Youtubers. In the video that had garnered 4.5mn views within 2 days, he accused Tiktok users of stealing content from YouTubers, and lashed at the platform for promoting cheap content that required no skills as opposed to YouTube that offered quality content from skilled video producers. The video’s been since taken down by Youtube, and the internet’s been divided on the two platforms ever since. Tiktok critics have been quick to dig up problematic content on the platform.

Some of the other videos that have emerged included the heart-wrenching videos of a fad where girls trample kittens under pointy stilettos or bare feet. A similar video from India where a kitten was shown to be hanging by a rope was called out for promoting and encouraging animal torture for virality. Another bunch of videos showing teenagers engaged in inappropriate sexual acts have also evoked strong criticism against Tiktok for promoting underage sex and other forms of vulgar exposure. 

As is the case ever so often in India, the quickest way to get justice against a rogue app is to punish it with low ratings on the Playstore. Those against Tiktok have been urging people to downrate the app, and those who don’t have it, to download only to downrate it. The app rating is duly down to a mere 1.3* now with thousands of 1* ratings and reviews bestowed upon it by angry Indians.

tiktok ratings india may 2020

 

This is not the first time though that Tiktok has ruffled feathers in the country. In April last year, the Madras high court had put a ban on the app saying it encouraged pornography and made child users vulnerable to sexual predators. The judgement was in response to an individual’s public interest litigation against TikTok, calling for its ban.

In the wake of all the problematic content that’s called out from time to time, Tiktok’s content moderation policies have been questioned by its critics. On May 12th, the company had to release a press statement to assure the users of its content moderation and security policies.   “In the recent past, we have heightened our moderation efforts by monitoring and systematically removing content from our platform that violates our Community Guidelines. For example, in India, we have removed thousands of such videos, including content that could cause imminent harm to public health and safety. Moreover, our enhanced in-app reporting feature – ‘Misleading Information’ category, allows our users to proactively flag content, relevant especially during times of COVID-19.”, one of the snippets from the press release says.

Tiktok is owned by the Chinese company Bytedance and was launched in India in 2014  as Musical.ly and later renamed Tiktok. Due to its ease of use which lets users upload videos from their phones, add quick filters, preset scenes and dialogues, the app has quickly garnered a huge userbase in India – a country with a burgeoning population of smartphone users. Tiktok’s often credited for democratizing social media as a chunk of its user base is from tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India and falls in the 15-30 years age group. Tiktok’s gained massive popularity in the last year and many common people have gone on to become Tiktok celebrities with millions of followers while mainstream celebrities have joined the platform too. They dance, sing, cook, or enact famous scenes from the movies or direct complete skits of their own in short bite-sized videos. The Covid quarantines and unlimited time on hands has only added to the app’s appeal.

Buoyed by its popularity in India, Bytedance has doubled down on its efforts to scale its operations in India and has been hiring key positions in the content and marketing teams.  It has also been actively promoting the platform– curiously on other social media platforms — as a viable advertising channel.

The internet can be a great place for entertainment, education and popularity, but as Tiktok’s ugly underbelly reveals,  without a robust content moderation system in place, and users’ greed for easy virality, it can turn into a highly-polarizing and even dangerous platform.