Longitudinal analysis of a #boycott movement on Indian online platforms: Case of collective action and online boycott

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European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Lately, Indian online platforms have witnessed recurring consumer boycott calls in forms of uninstalling/down-voting applications on the app stores. For our exploratory study, we conduct a longitudinal analysis of one of these controversies involving online boycotting of an e-commerce company (Snapdeal) over a controversial statement issued by their brand ambassador (Aamir Khan) which hurt religious and nationalist sentiments of users on Twitter. Through the lens of this study, we try to understand emergent collective user behaviour and how collective action has begun to play out in online (troll) communities. We call the user behaviour in our study as trolling behaviour as - the call to boycott appears in order to silence an influential voice which challenges a nationalist narrative of these users. A broader implication of such behaviour seems to be strong arming any counter narrative with a threat of potential backlash and financial harm. This analysis is important as online deviant and trolling behaviour by group of users is increasingly influencing socio-political agendas online. It contributes to broader CSCW understanding of online platforms and collective behaviour. We also situate our work in online consumer boycotting behaviour.