Can the flap of a credit rating agency's wings in America set off a tornado in Oceania, like Lorenz's famed butterfly? Yes, apparently.
When Moody's upgraded India's sovereign credit rating to Baa2 from Baa3 on Friday (17 November), the international credit rating agency's namesake former Australian cricketer Tom Moody ended up getting trolled.
While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) viewed the upgrade as an endorsement of its economic policies, opponents of Modi were livid and decided to show it — only they mistook the agency Moody's for the cricketer Moody.
Anti-Modi social media users from the south Indian state of Kerala converged in droves on the cricketer's Facebook wall to tick him off — and mostly in the local language Malayalam.
Presently ruled by a coalition of left-wing parties, Kerala has long been a communist bastion that Modi's BJP has been unsuccessfully trying to breach.
Clearly confusing the cricketer for the rating agency, trolls pointed out that Modi's economic policies had caused suffering to the man on the street.
One user asked the cricketer if he knew how high the price of coconut oil — Kerala's all-purpose oil — was after Modi's structural reforms. Several others asked him to reverse the rating.
Some even charged the coach of the Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad with conspiring with Modi to wrangle the Indian cricket coach's position.
On realising what was happening many social media users came to Moody's defence and apologised to the former coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team.
"I would like to apologise on behalf of my retarded fellow citizens. I assure you that these do not represent India or even a small minority of our country. I know that this might be the most retarded thing you have ever experienced in your life," one post read.
When it became apparent that the difference between Moody's and Moody was more than just an apostrophe, several users beat a quiet retreat and pulled down their comments.
However, many others continued their trolling, prompting supporters of the communist party to suggest the posts were from fake accounts created by the BJP to discredit them. This triggered off another round of tit-for-tat responses between the political opponents until Tom Moody's comments page resembled a virtual war-zone.
Finally, the cricketer himself responded with a thank you message to those who recognised him for what he really was. He wrote: "Thanks to all of you who have realised I don't work in the finance ratings industry!"
This is not the first time trigger-happy Indian social media users have vented their ire on a near-namesake. In April, a report on Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel's alleged remark that he was not interested in expanding to "poor countries" like India saw Indian e-commerce firm Snapdeal take a hit. Several people uninstalled and down-voted Snapdeal's app, mistaking it for Snapchat.
Both Snapchat and Snapdeal were forced to come out with statements following the online fury.