The subreddit’s scope is “making fun of people with minimal comprehension”

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However, what Kjellberg’s video, and most other videos like it, focus on the most is r/indianpeoplefacebook’s screenshots of South Asian men being sexually aggressive in online interactions with women.

For example, one of the most popular posts on the subreddit is a screenshot of a Facebook Messenger conversation in which a South Asian man asks a woman to “Send me ur vegana pic”; another popular post shows a Facebook conversation in which a man tells a woman he has “Anudeispedia”, a “rare disease” which requires him to see women naked or he will die—“you can’t find on google don’t search,” he says, and tacks on a “Just send bitch” at the end, for good measure.

What are the sleazy interactions?

Such content would not be out of place on other subreddits that spotlight sleazy interactions with women, such as r/CreepyPMs or r/nice guys. Posting these types of conversations on a subreddit named r/indianpeoplefacebook, however, has undertones of racism, implying that there is something inherently “Indian” about such behavior. The fact that many of the individuals who post and comment on this content are not South Asians only compounds this issue.

The moderators of r/indianpeoplefacebook themselves have attempted to address these problems. In a stickied post at the top of the subreddit from 10 months ago, they announced that they would be “tightening down on the type of content we allow because frankly looking at this sub can be horrifying at times and we want to change that”.

The post clarifies that contributors to the subreddit should seek to “laugh with the subject of the submission, not to laugh at them”, and that “We do not want to promote racist stereotypes.” The subreddit, the moderators remind people, is “not r/CreepyPMs or r/cringeanarchy”. They claim that those who post racist content will be temporarily blocked from contributing to the subreddit, with the worst offenders receiving permanent bans.

But despite this assurance, some of the rules of r/indianpeoplefacebook seem to curl in on themselves in contradiction. For example, one rule—titled “Racism is forbidden”—declares that “while the scope of this sub dictates that we are making fun of people with minimal comprehension of the English language and the resultant culture barriers, we don’t allow racial slurs or any other forms of discrimination”.

It’s hard to see how “making fun” of people struggling to deal with cultural barriers would be non-discriminatory.

‘Viral serendipity’

Many of r/indianpeoplefacebook’s posters seem unbothered by the brushes with racial prejudice that the subreddit may have.

A Reddit user named “Bhundcollector” has frequented the forum for around three years. Bhundcollector is of Pakistani descent, but, he said over messages, his heritage had little to do with his discovery of the subreddit—he was living abroad when his Syrian roommate first showed it to him.

When asked whether he believes the subreddit has a racism problem he declined, saying that overall, “being a strong opponent of PC [politically correct] culture I must say people need to chill”. He said he believes “Pakistanis and Indians do fit the sexually regressive stereotype prevalent in the sub for the most part, due to the inherent effects of cultural and socio-religious norms therein.”

What was the conversation?

Bhundcollector was, in fact, the person who first posted Rana’s “Friendship Ended With Mudasir” image to the forum. He did so after seeing the post on his Facebook feed; “I guess it was one of those ‘perfect storm’ moments when Reddit publicity is ripe for the taking,” he said. “A ‘viral serendipity’ of sorts.”

Although the image became extremely popular, garnering Bhundcollector lots of “karma” (Redditors aggregate points based on the number of “upvotes”—similar to Facebook’s “likes”—their posts and comments get) he believes it’s not a particularly funny meme at all.

He speculated that it became incredibly popular because “the goray [white people] aren’t really exposed to this type of thing on a daily basis”. He, on the other hand, said he sees “this kind of thing on shitty fringe/cringe desi meme pages all the time”.