Bengaluru: Royal Challengers Bangalore played their last game of the season in Bengaluru three days ago, determined to go out in style after a disappointing spell. This they did, with a four-wicket victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but that's not why this will be the most memorable match of IPL 2019.
Memes and posts flooded the internet on Saturday, with millions of fans celebrating, not RCB, but the "happiness" on the face of the "RCB girl" at her team's victory. Dressed in a red, off-shoulder crop top and armed with a large RCB flag, the young fan's moves became an internet sensation overnight. It didn't take tech-savvy fans long to find their way to her Instagram account and this twenty-something young woman now has nearly 150,000 followers!
The downside is that 'winning' social media comes with its own hairy turns. In less than 24 hours, dozens of spam accounts with the young woman's pictures, all describing themselves as #RCBgirl popped up on Instagram. (Private) Accounts posting adult content changed their display photos to the 'RCB' girl, gaining thousands of followers. Her Instagram account is peppered with celebrity pictures, from Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan to a party with Enrique Iglesias in Goa. Now, the 'RCB girl' has retreated into her shell, traumatised by the dark turn her celebrity status has suddenly taken. She's not the only one.
She was not, however, going to be cowed. She posted a disclaimer on her Instagram account, assuring followers that all the others are spam. Even that appeared on the spam accounts shortly after.
Going viral is fun, but the only regulatory bodies in place are run by social media sites themselves and lack transparency. It does command a heavy emotional toll, one that few people care to talk about. Perhaps personal safeguards, boring as those might seem, are more important than we realise....