Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has approached the Twitter administration to immediately sensitize its moderation teams and ensure that the platform is not used as a propaganda tool for spreading fake information.
In the wake of the current smear campaign of spreading false and baseless information targeting Pakistan, its cities and institutions, PTA has stressed upon Twitter to effectively block handles involved in the campaign.
To the disappointment of the Regulator, a number of accounts involved in the propagation of untrue stories, are Twitter verified. However, they are still operating with immunity.
PTA has asked the platform to take immediate action against such accounts as per its guidelines and policies.
As with all modes of social media, a certain amount of moderation is necessary to reign in the spread of misinformation that can not only influence the public, but also ultimately damage national interests. Considering that the online nature of these spaces allows fake and sensationalist news to travel much faster than regular news, it is imperative that measures be taken to curb the propagation of baseless information.
This PTA confrontation comes in the wake of several Indian media outlets reporting imaginary gun battles between rival forces on the streets of Karachi after the arrest of son-in-law of former PM Nawaz Sharif, Mohammad Safdar. The incident sparked outrage, and made Indian media the subject of much international ridicule. Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari also criticized the Indian media for spreading propaganda and false information.
“Indian media in hyper drive with fake news on Pakistan & unfortunate that @TwitterSupport delib ignoring! Facebook also indulging Indian propaganda & hate posts! Similarly Islamophobia rampant but heaven forbid if any word said implying even a querying comment on holocaust,” she tweeted.
Earlier this year, Twitter updated its policy on manipulated media, and started putting warning messages on tweets containing misleading information about coronavirus. As far as combating fake news goes, there is still a long way to go.