The Israel-Gaza conflict has unleashed a torrent of misinformation on social media

The Israel-Gaza conflict has unleashed a torrent of misinformation on social media
Israel says Gaza border secured as death toll soars
Euronews News / VideoElephant

As war ravages between Israel and Hamas, people have understandably taken an interest in the unfolding tragedy, sharing information about it on social media.

Palestinian militant group Hamas sent fighters across the border to Israel and fired thousands of rockets in an unprecedented attack on Saturday.

At least 900 people have reportedly been killed in Israel and more than 600 have been killed in Gaza, with dozens more taken hostage by Hamas.

But not everything shared about this conflict on platforms such as X/Twitter can be characterised as information. Indeed, there has instead been a torrent of misinformation and fake news corrupting the internet, creating false narratives and warping people's minds.

For instance, X/Twitter placed a "media manipulation" warning on a tweet by Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that featured a 28-second video claiming to show Hamas firing rockets towards Israel during the latest round of violence - footage he said was evidence of a "war crime".

However, it has since emerged that the video in question is at least two years old. The tweet has now been deleted.

Meanwhile, the i reports that false reports that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had been taken to hospital circulated on the platform. A fake Jerusalem Post account circulating the reports has now been removed from X.

CNN reports another viral video claiming to show Israel generals after being captured by Hamas fighter was viewed more than 1.7 million times by Monday. The video however actually shows the detention of separatists in Azerbaijan.

Here are some more fake posts, as debunked by BBC journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh:

One in five social media accounts participating in online conversations about the Hamas attacks and their aftermath are fake, according to Cyabra, an Israeli analysis firm. As reported by the Guardian, the company found that approximately 30,000 fake accounts have been spreading pro-Hamas disinformation or gathering sensitive details about their targets.

“In times of war, social media becomes a propaganda battlefield; there is always an element of disinformation and exaggeration,” Emerson Brooking, senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab told CNN. “Today, X is the main platform where this online battle plays out.”

"In crises like terrorist atrocities, wars and natural disasters, people tend to descend on social media platforms for quickly accessible information," Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, told AFP.

"(But) the flood of grifters spreading lies and hate to garner engagement and followers, combined with algorithms that promote this extreme and disturbing content, is why social media is in fact such a bad place to access reliable information."

Be careful with what you see on social media.

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