Are Negative Social Media Reviews the New Weapon of Hatred?

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Some 3000 people have signed up for an event, where they will flood negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for the film ‘Black Panther’. The film has an all African-American cast, along with themes of race. It is touted as one of Marvel’s biggest releases this year. Hence, many are debating, whether this plan to sabotage its audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is a merely a result of fans’ extreme Marvel vs DC rivalry, or something more deplorable.

Mere jealousy or more than that

With hashtags like #DCOverMarvel and #BringDownDisney, the event looks like a jealousy-fueled rivalry between the fans of the two comic book universes.

But some people on Twitter believe that it’s not just jealousy but Racism. For targeting this specific film, of all the Marvel releases.


Though, the actual intentions behind this event is still not clear, Rotten Tomatoes has condemned the initiative.

“While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech. Our team of security, network and social experts continue to closely monitor our platforms and any users who engage in such activities will be blocked from our site and their comments removed as quickly as possible.”

Negative Reviews which stem from rivalry or hate is not a new trend

The trend of flooding internet with negative reviews out of political or social rivalry and outrage is nothing new. In fact, we have plenty of authors in India who suffered the consequences of taking a strong political or cultural stand.

Works of authors like Arundhati Roy, Sagarika Ghose, Swati Chaturvedi, Rana Ayyub and Rajdeep Sardesai were criticised, purely for their sociopolitical stand. Ghose’s book “Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister” garnered negative ratings on Amazon, within minutes of becoming available for purchase.

So here, the damage does not stick to takes on personal reputation on social media. Trolls are now organising well- planned assaults on the professional reputation of writers, films. etc as well.

Is it right to judge a film or book by the political stand of its maker or writer?

The authors have time and again appealed to the trolls, to at least read the book before posting a negative review.

But their words seem to fall on deaf ears. For the trolls, this is a perfect way to damage someone’s professional reputation and sales figures. But should people stamp a film or a book bad purely out of hatred?

Without a watching film or reading a book, how can one judge the said piece of work?

This trend is as dangerous as people protesting the release of films, without watching them, because they feel it might hurt their sentiments.

Rotten Tomatoes commitment to ensure no miscreants can spoil the rating and reviews Black Panther deserves, is commendable. This is the only way, we can limit the menace of trolls to social media platforms. We need some regulations to ensure that the book and movie reviews remain a domain of honest criticism uninfluenced by personal hatred and rivalry.

Also Read : 10 Most Trolled Women In 2017

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own