LAHORE: Although governments around the world, including Pakistan, are struggling to stop or at least reduce the spread of fake news through social media platforms, the problem is getting worse by the day, which means that the laws promulgated to exploit these unbridled interactive communication networks do not work.
The term “Fake News” dates back to the late 19th century, when journalists used it to attack rival newspapers and magazines. Yet former US President Donald Trump popularized it!
According to prominent US broadcaster, NBC News, “Lies have spread like wildfire on social media, becoming faster and more lasting than the truth. This is what M / s “Statista”, a German company specializing in market and consumer data, observed in its report of June 16, 2021: “Fake news is an insidious and widespread problem on the whole. of the information industry and global problem. In the United States, the term and concept gained popularity in the 2016 election, but have since manifested themselves in areas outside the political realm. The most recent example is the COVID-19 pandemic – nearly 80% of consumers in the United States said they had seen fake news about the Corona outbreak, highlighting the extent of the problem and the scope that false news can reach ”.
“Statista”, which contains more than 1,000,000 statistics on more than 80,000 subjects from more than 22,500 sources and 170 different industries, and generates a turnover of around 60 million euros, previously claimed in its report of May 28, 2021: To the spread of fake news, social media is the main culprit. Although social media has been the least reliable source of information in the world since 2016. A survey conducted in spring 2020 showed that 60% of the population aged 16-24 in the UK had recently used social media for information on the coronavirus, and 59 percent had discovered fake news on the subject. Some 52% of Americans say they are regularly confronted with false information online ”.
He added: “Meanwhile, in France, nearly 30% of 15-18 year olds were using social media as their primary source of coronavirus news, exposing news consumers in this age group to a increased risk of exposure to disinformation. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, many consumers see fake news and pass it on to someone else, putting even the most sophisticated audiences at risk. Unfortunately, fake news does not have a “quick fix” and developing awareness and improving one’s ability to identify fake news is a must for regular news consumers. “
The Reuters Institute had said: “A recent survey found that a record 41% of Americans actively avoid watching or reading the news. Most of them do it to avoid false information, statistics reveal. They also say that reading the news makes them sad and depressed about the current state of the world. In addition, many say they have noticed that the media is disproportionately focused on negative news ”.
Washington DC-based think tank Pew Research Center says, “According to a 2020 survey, just over half of American adults (53%) get their news from social media. Unfortunately, few users are used to making an active effort to report polarizing content. According to some, the platforms themselves should encourage such behavior and increase user immunity through education ”.
“NBC News” revealed: “During the second quarter of 2020, Facebook deleted seven million messages containing fake news. All of these messages contained false or unverified information about the then-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so deleting them was also a way to prevent such false information from putting people’s health at risk. During the same period, the social media giant deleted an additional 22.5 million posts for containing hate speech and 8.7 million for promoting extremist organizations ”.
The German Marshall Fund, another US think tank, said in a report that in the third quarter of 2020, there were 1.8 billion fake news on Facebook. He said: “Before the 2020 presidential election, falsified information from fake political news sites generated 1.8 billion Facebook engagements. According to statistics, this is a staggering 242% increase from the 500 million pledges just before the 2016 elections ”.
‘The Guardian’, a widely endorsed UK newspaper: ‘In recent years we have seen a massive increase in media hype. There is what is called the phenomenon of car accidents.
Although everyone knows that car accidents are worrying, no one can walk past one without looking at it. For this very reason, about 95% of all news headlines are disproportionate ”. In one of its reports, the Icelandic Journalists Union reported that a fake media outlet in France generates 11 million interactions per month.
He said, “It was about five times more than some of the more established news brands. On the one hand, this is a clear testament to the reach and influence of fake news websites. On the other hand, fake news usually does not generate as many interactions, even when it has a higher reach ”.