Social Media Spreads False Information on the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Liz Fe Lifestyle

Lies and misinformation on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other social media are fueling the flames of violence in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Credible sources are hard to find during a time when new information is rare and highly sought after. When someone catches a whiff of a fact, or what appears to be fact, this knowledge is spread rather quickly and serves to intensify fighting, bloodshed and brutality.

The spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, named Ofir Gendelman, posted a 28-second video to Twitter last week. The video contained footage of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip launching rocket attacks at Israelis. As the video continued to make its way around the digital world, it was soon discovered that the video was not a recent one. And it was not from Gaza. The video actually was from 2018 and can be found on YouTube, and the rockets were being fired from either Syria or Libya, not Gaza.

It is confusing to distinguish what’s real and what are just lies, especially when the information in question holds a tinge of truth to it. As Shaydanay Urbani from First Draft News explains:

A lot of the things we have seen are old media taken out of context. [Stories] circulating from a totally different time and a totally different place.

The content itself hasn’t been modified or falsely created; it’s just being used for the wrong purposes.

The Twitter video was not the only instance of misleading content being shared all over social media. A photo of a young boy cleaning up a blood-soaked floor was circulating through Facebook. People claimed that the photo depicted a child in Gaza washing away the blood of his dead family. In reality, the image has existed for over a decade and actually shows a boy cleaning up cow’s blood in a slaughterhouse.

Social media platforms have been striving to combat the spread of misleading details. Christina LoNigro, a spokesperson for WhatsApp, stated that limits of the number of times people could share a message are now put into place to prevent the contamination of false information. In addition, accounts believed to be involved with violence will be banned by WhatsApp. TikTok is also working to delete posts that promote violence and defy Community Guidelines, while Facebook has set up a 24-hour “special operations center” to keep an eye out for any harmful content.

While social media has its pros, it can be a dangerous tool used to incite further negative feelings between warring countries, and even bystanders.

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