A video of a Pakistani student being killed in case of honour killing in China, took social media by storm. The video depicted a person being stabbed on the road repeatedly by a [presumably] woman’s brother and father, as she cried for help.
The viral video was met with an angry criticism over how poorly Pakistani citizens are treated abroad, highlighting the fact that Pakistani embassies in foreign countries fail to ensure the protection of Pakistani citizens.
Forced by public pressure to take notice of the video, the Pakistani foreign office denied any truth in the video and claimed that no Pakistani citizen has been killed in Beijing as the video depicted. Terming is as either fictional or false. The embassy however clarified that a Pakistani student did commit suicide in the Shenyang city in China’s Laioning province.
The modern era is an era of increasingly polarised media, fake news, lies, propaganda and conspiracies. The dishonest use of Social media add fuel to the fire, in this case. Fake news’s are being endorsed so recklessly using these platforms which leads to mass misinformation.
This weaponization of information is becoming a political battleground, where facts do not matter and lies can be termed as “alternative facts”. The destructive mind and the mass outreach of media, team up to fabricate and manipulate the content. Fake news is often financed by private actors; anti-democratic governments, populist politicians and dishonest corporate entities. What’s more concerning is the materialistic agenda behind fake news, as some earn through viral circulation of such news. All the world is facing this issue. Weaponization of information on such a large scale is disastrous for a fair political system, as it discredits the premise of democracy: informed consent. Fake news and propaganda actively manufactures consent.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media powerhouses have started crackdowns on fake news and false information. But it is still a long way to go before fact-checking can be implemented holistically on social media.
Contributor: Muneeb Khan