The social media conundrum: Clickbaits, scandals and misreporting

Seems as though Pakistani celebrities just can’t seem to stay away from scandal, but have you ever wondered if they are actually always the ones at fault?


By Aliya Zuberi

KARACHI: It looks as though Pakistani celebrities just can’t seem to stay away from controversy. However, have you ever wondered if they are actually always the ones at fault? In the age of social media, everybody wants to cash in on controversy and/or what’s trending. Speaking of publications, unfortunately, reporting is becoming more about the views, likes, retweets, and shares on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Hence, to garner attention, most bloggers and journalists resort to tactics like picking conversations out of context and projecting them as something a prominent figure ‘actually’ said, making jokes out of serious statements and vice versa. And this is a serious problem that needs to be discussed.

Recently, Aiman Khan received backlash when a clip of her discussing fellow actresses Saboor Aly and Mawra Hocane made rounds on social media. In the clips, she makes a statement that can only be perceived as skinny-shaming the two actresses. When asked to give advice to her colleagues all it seemed that she could think of was to tell them they are way too skinny and they need to eat and that they should focus on their health. These comments didn’t sit well with a lot of people who felt that Aiman Khan, among many other renowned Pakistani celebrities, should have been more responsible and should have been speaking on body-positivity rather than skinny-shaming the two actresses.

 

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Was Aiman Khan wrong in passing these comments? Yes, she could have talked about or given advice on something more substantial. But what the viral clip chose to omit to show to people were the positive things that Aiman Khan had to say about the two women in question. The actress also talked about the things we loved about the two women like Mawra’s Jummah Mubarak posts and how Saboor is a close friend of hers. Something that Saboor Aly came and reiterated on Ahsan Khan’s show. She said that Aiman is a close friend who is always taking care of her even on set, making sure she eats and takes care of her health. She also pointed out that Aiman wasn’t being mean and that she even mentioned her own weight when making these comments. Aiman Khan’s twin sister Minal Khan was also a guest on the show with Saboor and (rightly) pointed out, “only negativity finds its way online, drawing a curtain over anything positive.”

Moving on, Hania Aamir has also been a subject of clickbait articles recently. Headlines such as, “Hania Aamir force-feeds Dananeer,” began popping up. Before people watched the video, they were enraged. Some didn’t even watch the video and began their quests as keyboard warriors, criticizing the actress. When in reality all the clip shows is an innocent moment where Hania Aamir is feeding her friend like a mother would feed a child.

With cancel culture being so rampant in the current generation, Pakistani celebrities have to be careful about what they say. They’re expected to be more responsible in what they say and jokes such as the ones Noman Ijaz made about cheating on his wife and being smart about it just don’t sit well with audiences. But when publications and social media pages choose to pick up conversations out of context and throw celebrities who aren’t at fault under the bus (for likes and shares), that is a dangerous territory they’re entering into. And it’s not just the publications or bloggers at fault. Shows that invite celebrities for interviews have taken the motto “all publicity is good publicity” seriously. They put their guests in these situations in hopes that they garner attention and are talked about.

Therefore, the responsibility and blame falls on all parties involved. Whether it is the platforms calling these celebrities over and putting them in a situation that would ignite controversy, the celebrities who are often careless with their statements as well as publications that choose to pick up what will benefit them. Time to ponder and make judgements accordingly!

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