Indians Are Hitting Amazon’s App With 1-Star Ratings After Company Associates With Swara Bhasker

The one-star app rating appears to be officially how protests are conducted in 21st century India.

Hundreds of Indian users have hit Amazon India’s app with a one-star rating on the Play Store after the company associated with controversial actress Swara Bhasker for a promotional activity. The online protesters allege that Bhasker repeatedly insults people of the Hindu faith and is an “anti-national,” and are leaving making their displeasure known through scathing reviews.

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“Uninstalled Amazon for supporting a bigot and hypocrite,” wrote Rishi Mishra on the Play store. “Ashamed of Amazon and Swara Bhaskar” wrote Ramakrishna Anantha. “Need to apologize for endorsing Swara Bhasker,” wrote another user.

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Several people said that they were loyal customers, but would abandon the app because of Amazon’s association with Swara Bhasker. “Rated 1 star because you have business relations with Swara Bhaskar. Bye from old customer,” wrote Umesh Sharma. “I love Amazon..but am really appalled at promoting a known Hindu hater,” wrote Aashrith Challa.

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The entire fracas began on Twitter, where Bhasker was involved in a promotional activity with Amazon. Amazon had been getting some small-time celebrities to share the problems they’d encountered while moving to a new city. These promotions are generally paid, and Bhasker appeared to be one of the celebrities contracted, sharing her experience on Amazon’s tweet.

Calls to boycott Amazon began soon after she’d tweeted.

 

Some users told Amazon that they needed to choose their influencers more carefully.

People also began sharing screenshots of them deleting their Amazon apps.

While others started sharing screenshots of cancelling the orders they’d made on Amazon.

This isn’t the first time Indians have descended on apps and bombarded them with one-star ratings as a form of protest. In 2015, thousands of users had hit Snapdeal’s app with one-star reviews after actor Aamir Khan had said that he didn’t feel safe in India any more. Last year, Indians had left nasty reviews for Snapchat after CEO Evan Spiegel had allegedly said that India was too poor to have Snapchat. And just this year, users had rated ScoopWhoop’s app with one-star ratings after it had published an article calling Holi the worst festival — on Holi.

Swara Bhasker, for her part, appears to have attracted the ire of a large section of Indians through her provocative tweets in recent times. She’d appeared to blame “Hindustan” for the recent rape in Kathua, and had focused on how the rape had occurred in a Hindu temple. Bhasker seems perfectly aware of what her actions entail — in her Twitter bio, she calls herself a “Right-wing baiter”. But as she’s finding out, you can either make money through becoming an influencer for large corporations, or alienate half the population — but you can’t do both.

Update: Amazon has deleted the tweet in which it had responded to Swara Bhasker. It has also deleted the original tweet that Bhasker had responded to, effectively removing all traces of the social campaign from Twitter.

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