Fake news on social media gave another life to the controversy surrounding the anti-Pakistan banners. Two days after the mysterious banners popped in the capital, a number of social media users started claiming that the entire campaign was politically motivated and it was carried out by members of the youth wing of an opposition party.
Social media users also sent viral a photo of two handcuffed men in custody of plain-clothed law enforcement personnel, and claimed they were behind the campaign.
Social media users alleged, of course without proof, that the top leadership of the party was also complicit in the offense and demanded that it should be held accountable. Some of the users invoked violence against the persons as well as their ‘handlers’.
The Urdu text says what should we do to these people who displayed the anti-Pakistan banners? Chop their hands or behead them?
A little investigation by Media Gardi revealed that the photo posted by the social media users, claiming to be of the campaigners, was actually of two government employees who were arrested for financial corruption by the Anti-Corruption Department.
Later, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad also put the rumours to rest by sharing findings of the investigations into the case that no malicious intent was at work behind the banners. The authorities found that the campaign wasn’t supposed to be ‘anti-Pakistan’ in the first place but a botched-up job by the designer and a little oversight by the campaigners messed up the plans.
The entire episode serves as a reminder how easily the social media can be weaponized against anyone. It also reminds us of our duty to be responsible on social media, as a mere unsuspecting click and share can tarnish people’s repute and endangers their lives.