News can be defined as professionally produced informed that is timely, accurate, relevant, clearly communicated and fair. Accessibility of news is surpassing than its credibility.
Whereas, fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention (Wikipedia). This means that fake news is intentionally baked news with the purpose of misleading the public. “Fake news is “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. (David M. J. Lazer, 2018). Fake news can be defined as the intentional and verifiably false (Kai Shu, 2017).
There are multiple types of fake news including hoaxes, satire, propaganda, sloppy journalism, biased and slanted news, misleading headings and click bait.
Detection of fake news is challenging. Users have no option to verify the authenticity of the content that they find in their newsfeed every time they scroll their Facebook. Facebook also allows its users to share the content on their own discretion without any content verification check. In this way, unauthenticated and unverified content circulates at much speed.
In recent times, prevalence of fake news over Facebook has left its indelible marks on the horizons of power games and behavior of its young users. Facebook is being used to stir the political wave at the lower level or for political engineering at the supreme level of country to influence the youth. Consecutive political upsets in elections around the globe by maneuvering the masses through social bots is anticipating the political parties to use Social media as a tool to change the political preferences of users.
Facebook not only spreads information during the days of disaster and natural calamity but also responsible for prevailing chaos and panic by allowing its user to share, comment, like or retweet the posts of fake information or pictures (Aditi Gupta).
Users used to like, comment, tag and share the posts which gratify their political views preferences regardless of their authenticity check. People find it far easier and less time-consuming to remain informed regarding latest national and international news through Facebook logged on to their mobile phones rather than to sit and watch news bulletin on traditional news sources. Facebook serves an amazing platform to read and watch information or misinformation from around the globe despite the fact that it is not considered as news site. Users have right to upload the content in the form of text, pictures and videos without its prior verification contrary to the traditional media outlets do, before getting the news on-aired. This gives rise to the new phenomenon known as “fake news”. “Fake news” was even named the word of the year by the Macquarie dictionary in 2016 due to its prevalence.
Marking the transformation for news gathering from content listening to content watching, now entered into the phase where every user is content creator. This mushrooming of content creators is resulting in odds like fake news.
Propagation of satire news through pictures and videos are being used against the political opponents and to infuse any social idea among the general public in an amusing way. Pakistani society is now more engaged, intolerant and polarized on political views. The growing repudiated events regarding the fake news on social media is creating trust deficit among the users. Generally, the use of intolerant remarks, jeering comments, abusive and seductive language is very common on Facebook.
In fact, the political party PTI successfully spread fake news against its political opponents. This party is alleged to introduce fake news through Facebook as a weapon against the political opponent. PTI used this weapon well in the sensitive issues like illness of Kulsoom Nawaz wife of Prime Minister of that time. One of the PTI’s operated Facebook page named “PTI Saraikistan”, on 24th June 2018, and many other pages posted that the illness of Kulsoom Nawaz is just an excuse put up by the Nawaz Shareef to delay his cases of accountability. This fake news regarding her illness got such an enormous response that it started to be discussed in number of programs on traditional media.
Later on, pages of the opponent party kept on posting her death rumors to reap political benefits, while she was on ventilators.
Throughout that time, youth of Pakistan showed variety of behaviors through sharing the posts and by posting comments under fake news.
Meanwhile, during the political stimulated campaign run to raise the funds for the dam construction to ameliorate the electricity situation in the country, public came across one more fake news that Shahid khan who is owner of English football club named Fulham has donated 1 billion dollars for the dam fund.
Fake news has caused humiliation to not only personalities but the national institutions as well. For instance, Fake news was circulated on Facebook that Nab has taken notice of the money laundering of 4.9 billion dollars by a political party to India, after days of sharing and posting of comments under the unauthenticated news, it was transpired that NAB has done nothing in this regard. Moreover, it was found that no proof exists to support such transactions of money laundering.
Then, much-celebrated news over Facebook came out that Prime Minister Imran Khan was invited to the Eastern Economic Forum by the Russian President that was later on, denied by the Russian Foreign Office.
The overall above-mentioned scenario created by the circulation of fake news reaching out to the mass audience is resulting in severe behavioral changes in the youth. The sharing trend without verification shows their irresponsible and least concern attitude to dig the true picture. In the same fashion by scrolling down their comments it evidently expresses their arrogance, intolerance, anger and disrespectful language towards the contradictory opinions. This was also observed that due to the circulation of fake news now the behavior of youth is more political polarized than before.