There seems to be no point trying to refute people who are determined to hate Subway’s decision to apply for Halal certification for all its restaurants. The (sometimes toxic) comment thread in their official FB account bears witness to this.
Of course Subway is going to lose some customers – that’s the point of their exercise. They’ve made the decision based on a calculation that they will happily shed the <1 per cent of argy bargy halal-haters to access the halal market.
Never mind the laundry list of reasons: that nearly all major fast food chains are halal, that businesses are free to make decisions on their product, that Subway has probably already done market research to show that they will earn more than they lose, that “halal-haters” are eating halal food all the time already… it’s not about that.
This is the madness of social media amplification – a number of insignificant voices (perhaps less than 1 per cent), account for 99 per cent of the negative noise on social media. Stanford researchers released a study showing that just 1 per cent of subreddits instigate 74 per cent of all inter-community conflicts on the “front page of the Internet”.
Social media platforms thrive on conflict. They amplify traffic and help sell ads. That in itself is a business decision, so consume at your own risk! My advice – don’t step in. There’s nothing to be achieved here by engaging with people who refuse to engage, and you’re not going to change a thing.
Although all this has implications on what harmonious interaction looks like for Singapore (still waiting for someone to report racist comments to the Police), it may be well worth considering philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s idea that being politically correct can actually perpetuate prejudice (like our externally “harmonious” yet deeply racist Singapore). It’s my thought for today, so I’ll let the ranters rant, but I’ll stay out of the fray.
Unless you’re in it for the sport… then be my guest.
Image from Flickr Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0