The unfolding of events in the past couple of weeks has brought massive destruction to the city of lights and its people. The incompetence of the government organizations to deal with this calamity was visible in the nebulous statements and hopeless position displayed by the government. The natural disaster was solely blamed for causing this. Another highlighted aspect of these natural tragedies was the circling and consumption of fake news widely shared on social media platforms.
Crocodiles travel from India to Karachi
One video that captured the attention of many people was of crocodiles roaming in the rainwater and people trying to capture them. The truth of this video was supported by a map showing Mango Pir and its close by areas. The news circulated was that some of the crocodiles of Mango Pir have entered the city areas of Surjani Town and Orangi Town. This was believable to some extent as there are crocodiles in Mango Pir. Azlan Shah, a YouTuber, is known to go and shoot videos with different animals. He has a team that keeps information regarding animals in different places in Karachi. He clearly mentioned in his video that this was an old video of Gujrat. The fake news got hyped and people started posting messages of staying safe. Dunya news also wrote in its article that this news of crocodiles got so hyped that the Sindh wildlife department sent two guards to investigate the scene which turned out to be a hoax.
Private swimming pools
Another viral video surfing the internet was of people diving from a multi-story building in the water on the road. A couple of videos showed that the water level was tremendously high which is why people could jump from buildings and not get injured. This video was discovered to be filmed in India. Dunya TV wrote that the voice was doctored to make it look like it’s from Pakistan. These news increased feelings of fear and anxiety among the residents. This propaganda was meant to instil feelings of uncertainty among residents. The habit of following news blindly can be traced in the idea of ‘public opinion’ by Walter Lipman.
Masses lack logic
“No man has ever thought out an absolute or a universal idea in politics, for the simple reason that nobody knows enough, or can know enough, to do it.”
This idea highlighting the problem of democracy that can be linked to the fact that public is consuming concocted news. This establishes how the formed opinions and judgements of people are based on fake news. The circulation of news has the chance of being untrue therefore masses can’t be trusted with forming authentic and correct evaluations about the areas in different spheres of society namely social, political, and economic. He implied that the mass media was fast-paced which is why the public couldn’t use rationality to interpret the news. They ended up making slogans revolving around doctored news. This again reinforces the idea that democracy can’t be practiced as it gives power to masses who are not so sound in drawing logical interpretations.
Social media shows reality too
There is still some truth in the news as public raised concern over the video of two giraffes getting viral on social media. When most of the city was drowning in 5-6 feet water with houses being completely drenched in rainwater, a video of two giraffes went viral. People started questioning the authorities as this clearly displayed the picture of substantial differences in economical resources. This also expressed the discourse of power which gave the freedom to the rich people to do what they liked. These giraffes are in a house in DHA which was highly objectionable because these animals are not permitted to be kept in residential areas. Uncovering of such news still shows how much power the media networks contain. The unrestricted control of the internet to post anything has given the power to public to highlight issues and share information with others.
Authentic multiple sources cancel fake news
The idea of fake news can be refuted by looking through multiple authentic sources. This is where the idea of mc Luhan comes in. The idea ‘medium is the message’ shows how our lives are governed by different mediums as they individually hold meanings. For example, if someone is using an email he is choosing a formal type of medium which should be answered formally. If someone is using a phone to call his friend then it can be implied that he needs to contact his friend immediately. This can be applied to the sources for extraction of news. Social media pages might be alleged of circulating fake information but the news can be confirmed through authentic channels such as renowned articles, TV channels, and government-owned sources. It depends upon us if we want to just jump on the bandwagon of spreading fake news or look for an authentic source to draw a logical conclusion. The existence of different mediums can entirely change the level of authenticity your logical interpretation holds. Looking through different mediums and finding news via authentic sources can help us to unfold the truth. This takes up time and the masses aren’t willing to invest this much time in discovering the truth. This fast-paced life has increased the chances of people consuming and circulating fake news as it provides with a topic to discuss about and shows their participation on these platforms.
Fake news draws attention
One advantage of Fake news is that it grabs media attention and can also result in government organizations and brands acting upon it for example Sindh wildlife sending investigators for crocodiles and Lays Company writing halal on lays. In 2009 lays company became infamous for using pork for building a taste in the chips. This was refuted by the company and they aired advertisements telling customers that their product is halal. The word ‘halal’ was also then imprinted on the back of the chips’ packet.
Fake news spreading on a mass scale for short periods of time is very much possible in this day and age. Anyone can post fake news and make it framed as believable by drawing a lot of attention towards it. People having pre-determined beliefs can support these news if it helps them establish a stronger position in their argument or supports their ideologies. There must be a comprehensive check on the news circulating around. Multiple sources should be used to confirm the validity of the news. These theories have established that not everyone in the masses is capable of sound interpretation and might stick to Fake news as it supports their personal biases. This then takes us to the question of whether there should be an introduction of a social media committee that removes news which isn’t valid and is aimed at creating hypertensive situations. Thoughts?