For aggrieved homebuyers, social media is the new Jantar Mantar
New Delhi: Social media is fast becoming the new Jantar Mantar for homebuyers. In the past few months, almost every protest by homebuyers, be it against builders or against the government, involves Twitter and Facebook.
There are many episodes where protestors, who would otherwise resort to dharnas at Jantar Mantar to highlight their grievances, have taken the social media by storm.
The most recent case in point is that of Amrapali, where buyers in Noida tagged the brand ambassador, cricketer MS Dhoni, on Twitter. Dhoni was asked to distance himself from the brand and protestors flooded him with information about the problems related to the dysfunctional firefighting systems, a missing lift and concerns over basement parking. The protestors created #AmrapaliMisuseDhoni, which got over 35 lakh impressions.
The huge reaction on social media forced Dhoni to react and quit as the brand ambassador.
Experts believe that social media spreads the word faster and more effectively. Recently, residents of a project in Bengaluru took to Twitter and Facebook to post videos of armed people inside their housing complex. This forced the police to file an FIR against the builder.
A group called Fight for RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Agency) used social media to press for the passage of the delayed real estate regulatory bill in the Rajya Sabha. They managed to reach Rahul Gandhi through Twitter, met him and got an assurance that Congress would support the bill.
While social media has proven to be an effective tool for expression, especially in the case of people aggrieved, there have also been calls for better policing so that anti-social elements do not misuse it for spreading hatred. Terror groups such as the ISIS have put social media to ample use for recruitments and even propaganda.
While such cases are now under regulatory watch, one can’t really ignore the presence and the overreaching power of the social media.