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NEW DELHI: In contrast to some Bollywood actors who have been actively involved in amplifying covid-19 messaging, a few people like Aamir Khan, Fatema Sana Sheikh, Warina Hussein, and Amit Sadh have either quit or announced taking a break from social media in the past few months. Others like Jahnvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Vicky Kaushal have drastically cut down on posts.

Several advertising industry and brands experts Mint spoke to said the move reflects both a general fear of current circumstances where covid related news on social media triggers anxiety as well as the apprehension of being trolled for being politically incorrect in some way. However, they added that the long-term absence from social media could impact their brand value and image.

"Social media is a very important extension of everything actors do as celebrities so there will definitely be an impact (on brand image or positioning) but the decision (for digital detox) needs to be respected," said Karthik Nagarajan, chief content officer at media agency Wavemaker India, adding that even celebrities should have the freedom to not be reliant on a particular medium.

“There is an overall sense of fear amongst everyone. It is not towards a person or a thing per se. And because of this, certain brands, communities and people would rather choose to be silent. We also know certain communities get trolled and targeted if they speak out and perhaps they feel better not talking about the crisis or outcomes in any way," Anupama Ramaswamy, managing partner and national creative director, Dentsu Impact said.

Bollywood celebrities are also human and may be going through their own share of anxiety or ‘languishing’ in their own way, Lulu Raghavan, brand expert and managing director Landor Associates, pointed out. With all film and web projects on hold and costs being reworked, film business in India is set for major change. “Social media is a double-edged sword and while it can be beneficial sometimes, there is also a lot of vile out there. Many of these celebrities may have seen others getting trolled because any kind of privilege, at this point, looks bad and they may feel everything will be misconstrued, so it’s fair to want to take a digital break," Raghavan said.

To be sure, several film stars engaged with fans and social media followers to amplify covid-19 messaging, calls for medicines, oxygen, hospital beds and other help. Brand experts said a sensitive persona may eventually impact how brands view them while sealing endorsement and public appearance deals.

While admitting withdrawing from any social event, shows a sign of inner fear, Sahiba Rattan Sethi, a counseling psychologist said being associated with a higher cause that is bigger than self and image humanizes celebrities and also gives them a channel to leverage their anger, frustration and helplessness at the situation. However, some others feel they deserve more leeway.

“Digital detox needs to be respected because not everyone may want to blindly amplify messaging. In fact, the covid-19 pandemic may also lead to an entire reset in attitudes towards social media, just like everything else. Many people could go off completely and digital footprints could go through fundamental changes because people themselves are going through an existential crisis," Raghavan said.

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