By Shazia Anwer Cheema
There is a general perception that PTI’s follower’s abuse, curse, and slur on social media, and civic strata of society are very concerned about this widespread hate speech and intolerance.
Social media platform operates on the algorithm which facilitates negativity in discourse, by negativity means, that anything sarcastic, ironical, biased, and slurry will automatically put by inbuilt algorithms to maximum audience and in technical term it is called “diffusion dynamics”
For research purposes you can find numerous social media pages dedicated to Imran Khan and his party PTI and their data mining will reveal one thing in particular; unsubstantiated news, rumors, misinformation, and fake visuals, this can lead to the hypothesis that why a so-called political party act as a pressure group and bully their opponents.
The answer to this question leads to the in-depth study of the mechanism of social media platforms commonly known as algorithms, there have been many studies conducted on the fact that social media platform operates on the algorithm which facilitates negativity in discourse, by negativity means, that anything sarcastic, ironical, biased, and slurry will automatically put by inbuilt algorithms to maximum audience and in technical term it is called “diffusion dynamics”. Sarcasm, Irony, Mockery, and violent visuals trigger the inbuilt human biases and generate questions. These questions create curiosity and unconsciously force the recipient to react, and that reaction is a commodity and a currency for the social media platform provider.
Why everything associated with PTI on the social media sphere is intolerant and jump to attack character, race, and personal preferences, and why a PTI follower can not be reasoned with and not receptive to logic?
Let me explain it in simple words, as we all noticed that anything conclusive, truthful, and substantiative gets the lesser eyeballs. The moment we switch our tone from objective to subjective we get more engagements on social media. Objective truths are verifiable and thus do not prompt curiosity however subjective truths lead to numerous alternative truths hence creating “peak shift effect’s” and grabs attention.
The Peak Shift effect is a cognitive esthetic term primarily used by artists to enhance aesthetic value, but advertisement and publicity content use this cognitive phenomenon to play with the human cognitive system in order to maximize audience (engagement). Inherently it is not a negative phenomenon but combined with “diffusion Dynamics” it creates echo chambers.
Coming back to the point of PTI being globally tagged as the flagship outlet of hate and abusive discourse manufacturing unit, and now being considered a violent outfit too; what went wrong during the last decade? why everything associated with PTI on the social media sphere is intolerant and jump to attack character, race, and personal preferences, and why a PTI follower can not be reasoned with and not receptive to logic?
When PTI was launched in power politics in 2018 they were in dire need of media voices, prior to that it was a single-man show based on a single man Imran Khan, who had a fan following but was never considered a serious politician as he had never shown any sign of a visionary political worker thus when an overnight paradigm shift put Imran Khan on center stage, it was the demand of time that he needs senior seasoned media voices at his side, even though the perks and privileged were clear as daylight the seasoned media personals refuse to be onboard and that’s the time in the history of Pakistan when hate speech become electronic journalism.
PTI social media works on the notion of that the “more hateful and indecent you will be more attention you will grab, the more lies you will plant more questions you will prompt more photoshop content you will post more attention you will get in favor or against”.
Imran Khan and his facilitators created an overnight carder of social media influencers to replace the mainstream media, they even launched paratroopers on mainstream media, the night before they were working in massage parlors, beauty parlors, as public relations officers in hotels, etc and the next morning they were replacing the organically grown seasoned journalist and were being introduced as an analyst and anchor persons and so on. These paratroopers were not enough and a widespread social media as a parallel media was launched and the story of polarization begins, as all types of polarization documented in history this too has capitalism in its roots.
More on social media means more money, the one-click in Asia will give one Pakistani rupee and one click for the same content in North America give you 10 rupees for instance, so the domestic chaos shifted into the global narrative, handlers started creating content with western lens, such as women right, transgender right, free speech, true democracy, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, moral policing
PTI Social Media handlers were given a free hand to spread the word, “Imran Khan is Savior” but as social media works on clicks, likes, retweets, trends, and viral, which are all related to money, that’s why those social media handlers even by not being IT experts, figure out the core mechanism of social media relevancy hypothesis, more hateful and more indecent you will be more attention you will grab, more lies you will plant more questions you will prompt more photoshop content you will post more attention you will get in favor or against.
More on social media means more money, the one-click in Asia will give one Pakistani rupee and one click for the same content in North America give you 10 rupees for instance, so the domestic chaos shifted into the global narrative, handlers started creating content with western lens, such as women right, transgender right, free speech, true democracy, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, moral policing.
I was amazed during my research that a PTI handler in Lukki Marwat by posting a yesteryear photo of a transgender lynched by mobbed as a 9th May protester, the irony of the situation is he may not even know any of the ideas I have mentioned but he figured out how to get attention and how to make money. PTI handlers have crossed a dangerous line and defaming Pakistan and questioning the sovereignty of Pakistan could have the point of no point of return.
Social Media is not free, our attention is a commodity and it is used as a currency
The big selling ideas of freedom of speech and press freedom to domestic abuse depend on the constant creation of fabricated content to keep their shops open, the content creators who were dwelling on dream selling of New Pakistan, True Democracy, and Corrupt Politicians, after recent crackdown are shifting their vending machines by renaming their outlets. One funny instance I have seen, renaming “PTI Tigers” to “Hot Desi Girls” and that could be the most viable economic move by PTI tigers, what if others do not find it attractive and switch toward more malicious agendas funded by our enemies?
It’s true they are hibernating at the moment, but they will reappear eventually and as previously claimed as Revolutionary PTI followers they might still seek refuge in hatred as their only economic survival tool. Who will be the target of their hate speech, our state, state institutions, our norm, our cultural values, or us individuals? PTI followers were never ideological nor they will ever be, they will keep damaging the fabric of Pakistan if will not be dismantled for all times to come.
Social Media is not free, our attention is a commodity and it is used as a currency by the platform providers, their ethical claim for the diffusion mechanism is to get the ethnographical inclination in order to provide more relatable content faster on your device and filter out automatically whatever they figure out you are not interested in but these algorithms are complicated, their creators may have missed the point that the curiosity and question they want to create are direct outcomes of shady gray discourse and they are making a tool for hate speech and maligning propaganda and then relating it to a rat race of making money.
I am sure that money matters, and using abusive language, curses, and slurs on social media surely played a pivotal role in the degeneration of our society and civic strata are very concerned about this widespread hate speech and intolerance.
Since the State is now hunting hatemongers who target its institutions, they would indeed find some other targets because their product of hatemongering sell and they get economic benefits from this exercise. I fear they will soon spread the material to create ethnic, linguistic, sectarian, and social divides because these faultlines are easy to manipulate and difficult to bridge and lucrative businesses to manage.
Note: Writer Shazia Anwer Cheema is an author, columnist, and foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media. She is a doctoral student and researcher in semiotics and philosophy of communication at Charles University in Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.