In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach controversy, Anand Mahindra, chairman of the USD 19 billion Mahindra Group, has mooted the idea of an Indian rival to Facebook, adding that he would be happy to fund it.
“Beginning to wonder if it’s time to consider having our own social networking company that is very widely owned and professionally managed and willingly regulated,” tweeted Mahindra.
Announcing his intent to fund such an initiative, he said, “Any relevant Indian start-ups out there? If any young teams have such plans I’d like to see if I can assist with seed capital.”
Mahindra’s idea of a desi version of Facebook soon got endorsement from the Union Minister for Law and Justice and Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who had earlier threatened to take strict action against Facebook and summon its chairman, Mark Zuckerberg.
“Wonderful idea my good friend @anandmahindra. Fervently hope to see you taking the lead,” Prasad tweeted.
Jaspreet Bindra, Senior Vice President for digital transformation at Mahindra, suggested a blockchain-enabled platform for the new social networking site. “Hi @anandmahindra , #blockchain enabled #Social3.0 is perhaps the best way to tackle this: full security and privacy, and a fundamentally different #businessmodel which does not sell you as a product,” tweeted Bindra in a reply to his boss.
Flood of responses
After getting hundreds of responses from the start-up community, Mahindra tweeted, “Thank you all for the flood of responses, suggestions & proposals. Please copy your tweets to my colleague @j_bindra who will work with me on this exploration. If nothing else, it should be fun…”
Facebook has lost USD 50 billion in market value since Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based consulting firm, was accused of illegally harvesting the data of nearly 50 million of its users and using it to help politicians, including U.S. President Donald Trump, and the Brexit campaign.
In India, the BJP and the Congress have accused each other of using CA’s services to manipulate voter behavior. – The Hindu