Facebook is facing strong opposition from right-wing groups in India. The pressure is surrounding the company’s plans to release Facebook Dating to a global market.
The groups are worried that Western culture is encouraging premarital relationships in the subcontinent, and threatening the Hindu culture.
Surender Jain, the general secretary of a right-wing nationalist Hindu organisation, told BuzzFeed News: “Too many young Indians are already aping the West. It is a matter of great concern to us that American companies like Facebook are now openly encouraging these things in India.”
Facebook are apparently considering how they plan to roll-out the feature in different countries. They may follow in the footsteps of Amazon and Google, who have both released more conservative and culturally-appropriate versions of their services in India.
They sent a statement to BuzzFeed News saying: “We understand how much dating norms and issues can vary by country, and as we work towards launching Facebook Dating, we’re taking a country-by-country approach to make sure that we’re addressing what different people need across the world.”
However, this may not be enough. Prem Verma Rajput, a spokesperson for a Hindu supremacist group, also said to BuzzFeed News: “Do you know what the Hindi word for dating is? Nothing! So how is it that our women can just go out and meet strange men from Facebook? We’re definitely against it.
“Let Facebook launch the feature. We’ll organize mass protests.”
Dating apps are extremely popular in India. Tinder and Happn are the top two highest grossing lifestyle apps in the country.
Tinder has also released very successful India-specific adverts in the past.
Facebook will be careful to not upset the Indian public with this launch. They have 250 million users in the country, making it the company’s largest market.
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