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Experts to fight disinformation | The Express Tribune

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KARACHI:

IT experts and social activists presented some useful tips and advice to control misinformation, harmful content and concocted campaigns on social media. They suggest that the government should formulate rules and strictly enforce them so that companies on social media cannot be harmed.

Social media is an emerging industry in which thousands of people earn a decent living by uploading short videos, posting posts, and garnering likes, comments, site visits, and other interactions. They mentioned that social media addiction is on the rise, describing it as a new world order that influences online trends, styles, mindsets and businesses.

They stressed that the government should establish clear rules, involving social media platforms, civil society and IT companies, to ensure efficiency and raise digital awareness.

The Chinese model, they argue, is better in terms of social media control because it incorporates holistic approaches, filtering tools and real-name registration of users, allowing authorities to track and monitor activities in a manner efficient and fast.

By implementing various strategies such as awareness campaigns, regulatory initiatives and developing a habit of fact-checking before sharing content, users can mitigate the spread and impact of misinformation, harmful content and campaigns concocted on online and offline platforms.

The volume of misinformation and disinformation is increasing on social media, harming the credibility and growth of online businesses, including digital banking and e-commerce, according to Dellsons Associates President Ibrahim Amin.

Amin stressed the need for all stakeholders, including regulators, businesses and consumers, to control misinformation, leading to financial crimes and scams, which affect various businesses and their users with the rise of Internet and social media in daily life.

He suggested that consumers should always check prices and investment programs with the company before making any investments, and that regulators should block any content used to promote harmful programs.

It also recommended that businesses and regulators continue to educate people about financial frauds and scams, provide advice on avoiding these pitfalls through various media and channels, and take action against cybercriminals and fraudsters. , especially within the country.

IT analyst Muhammad Yasir mentioned that regulation of the Internet and social media could be carried out to a large extent by government authorities in collaboration with the management of social media companies. However, full control and monitoring of content will not be possible without adopting a Chinese model banning foreign social media sites and establishing alternative local platforms for citizens.

In Pakistan, the relevant authorities have implemented a model to block content for users in the country by contacting the administration of social media platforms. This has led to the removal of blasphemous, indecent and anti-state content in the past, mainly on platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Bigo.

While this system is effective in preserving the country’s values ​​and beliefs, it can also have a negative impact on businesses that rely on social media, digital marketing and e-commerce. Therefore, the government should establish dedicated access and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for online businesses to ensure that their livelihoods are not disrupted.

Any content control mechanism should be in place to combat misinformation without affecting the activities of online workers.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th2024.

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