After the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, violent protestors swept the nation’s cities, and misinformation was rife on social media platforms.
Following the rioting and vandalism in Pakistan that lasted for a few days starting on May 9, an image and two films were circulated frequently to highlight how the situation was developing amid the chaos and the government’s crackdown on the political demonstrators.
A picture of a woman arguing with the police as they arrested protestors was later shown to be an AI-generated image. In one of the two films, large crowds of people are seen demonstrating against the police, while in the other, a throng is seen dragging coffins, which have been linked to PTI protesters who were slain during the nationwide demonstrations.
However, a French news outlet, France 24, pointed out some glaring red flags that the photos and footage were not genuine or from Pakistan. The media outlet’s journalist Vedika Bahl, who hosts a news show called Truth or Fake, looked more closely at the false information being spread by employees and supporters of the Khan-led party as part of her investigation to establish the source of the photos and videos.
The author explained the photograph and said that it was being distributed on Twitter as a protest against the country’s riot police, with one post stating: “This is genuine FEMINISM.” The fact that the photograph was retweeted by PTI’s official Twitter account and received over 231,000 views on the microblogging platform also served as a measure of the image’s reach.
The writer identified Abdullah Saad, a Twitter user, as the image’s author and confirmed that it was created using AI. The fact that she noted how difficult it is for AI to draw hands further revealed that it wasn’t a genuine picture. She further emphasized that the riot police depicted in the image were not representative of the actual officers who were tackling demonstrators in the streets, as evidenced by the unreal appearance of their features, helmets, and uniforms. The artist of the painting claimed that one of the female protesters in the protests last week who challenged the police and removed her scarf as a mark of defiance served as his inspiration.
Bahl continued by playing two distinct movies that were purportedly depicting PTI protesters’ resistance on TikTok, Twitter, and other social media sites.
However, one of the films, which showed what appeared to be PTI supporters marching towards the police, actually showed 1,000 Honduran migrants making their way towards the US border in order to draw the president’s attention to the plight of asylum seekers. The other footage, meanwhile, came from a recent shooting in Parachinar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where seven individuals were killed in a staff room of a public school.