August 31, 2022 – Misleading titles are the most common form of misinformation on YouTube to discredit the annual Aurat March in Pakistan, a new study has found.
The study, titled Misinformation on YouTube: Use of Misleading Titles to Promote Hateful Narrative against Aurat March in Pakistan, has been launched by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD). It examines the extent to which mis- and disinformation is spread through videos on YouTube against the Aurat March, a movement which has become central to the discourse on feminism in the country.
Although the march is given significant coverage by both mainstream media and independent social media channels, it is actively discredited with coordinated online campaigns structured around content with sensationalist and misleading titles and thumbnails, which play a serious role in inciting hatred and hostility against the movement.
The study analyses content from three social media channels and how they take advantage of the fact most people online may not watch the entire video, but rather form their judgement based on misleading titles and thumbnails. It also shows how these channels, instead of highlighting real substantial issues surrounding the rights of women and vulnerable gender minorities, focus on trivialising the march and amplifying comments which they can tweak to create controversy.
Misinformation on YouTube: Use of Misleading Titles to Promote Hateful Narrative against Aurat March in Pakistan stresses the need for an extensive analysis of the narratives that independent social media channels are perpetuating against the Aurat March and calls for ethical journalistic considerations while covering sensitive issues.
About Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD)
Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) is a Pakistan-based not-for-profit focused towards defending digital rights, freedom of expression, media, Internet, and communications in Pakistan, and ensuring that the media and public have the tools and environment to exercise their fundamental rights. Their work includes policy research, training, legal aid and support, and public interest litigation. Digital Rights Monitor (DRM) is also an initiative of MMfD.