Monday, May 23, 2022
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How To Win Friends, FB Style

Has the PM handed over a captive audience to the Facebook CEO?

How To Win Friends, FB Style
How To Win Friends, FB Style AP

True to form—and Facebook—there was a warm, friendly and familial feel to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s townhall meeting at Melon, California, with Mark Zuckerberg on September 27. Modi got emotional (yet again) while talking about his mother. Zuckerberg, the youngish founder of the world’s largest social networking site, got his parents to meet and pose with Modi. “The most amazing moment was when I talked about our families,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post, “and he (Modi) shared stories of his childhood....” That’s just the kind of stuff we would see and post on Facebook—the benign visage of a profitable, all-pervasive US-based corporation. (Needless to say, everyone who has worked on this story is a registered user).

Of course, we know Modi too is on Facebook. No other Indian politician has so effectively utilised the power of ‘likes’: and he has got 30 million. The problem with this chummy approach is that one could almost forget that the PM is also the supreme leader of a country that is Facebook’s second-largest market in the world with 125 million users. A few days earlier, Zuc­kerberg flew to Seattle to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. Facebook is not present in China. “On a personal note, this was the first time I’ve ever spoken with a world leader entirely in a foreign language,” wrote Zuckerberg in another post.

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