We have gathered on this Israel-Hamas armed conflict resource hub page news and developments, and links to reliable research, analysis, and fact-checks to help you navigate this conflict. For the latest updates on this and other topics around mis- and disinformation, subscribe to our newsletter here.
Last update: 28 November 2023
News & developments
The tip of the iceberg. The scale of misinformation in this conflict is described as unprecedented, creating a significant challenge for those trying to counter it, examples abound from both sides of the conflict.
Telegram-to-X pipeline fueling misinformation. The messaging app Telegram seems to have become a hub for raw conflict footage and “ground zero” of disinformation related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Telegram is used as a communication channel by both Hamas and the Israeli defence forces, as well as others with a first-hand view of the war. The unverified content is then shared on platforms like X, often with incorrect analysis, where it (especially after changes to the X moderation policies) spreads widely.
Ravaging the information landscape. Some “verified” accounts on X misleadingly using the term ‘OSINT’ in their user name are contributing to the spread of misinformation during the Israel-H amas conflict. The blue tick having lost its significance, it has become increasingly challenging to discern the credibility and motives of these accounts – whether they aim to inform the public or exist for engagement and profit.
Fake fakes. The typical challenge faced by fact-checkers and regular internet users alike is to detect AI generated images that pretend to be real. But online AI image detection tools are now also being used to label real photos as fake.
The end justifies the means? Israel has launched an aggressive campaign to gain support of Western audiences for its military response against Hamas, using ads on platforms like YouTube and X with brutal and emotional imagery depicting violence and abuse by Hamas.
Viewer discretion: Disturbing content. Graphic and violent videos produced by Hamas have gathered hundreds of thousands of views on social media platforms. The EU is investigating the platforms for their response to disinformation and terrorist content related to the conflict, and the US has also called on tech companies to disclose their content moderation efforts. Read more in this NewsGuard article.
Allegiances. This article reports that Russia, China, and Iran are allegedly using state media and social media to support Hamas and spread disinformation against Israel and the United States. The identified large-scale campaigns suggest it’s more than just a few bots and fake accounts, and that it’s reasonable to assume “involvement of nations or large non-state actors”.
Pallywood? This article discusses accusations by pro-Israeli accounts that Gazans are staging their suffering, faking injuries, and using crisis actors for sympathy amid the Israeli military’s ground assault in Gaza.
No note. An AI-generated news website, Global Village Space, has been identified as the source of a false claim stating that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s purported psychiatrist died by suicide. The baseless narrative alleging that he left a suicide note implicating Netanyahu spread on various platforms.
Not eligible? This article discusses a report by NewsGuard, which found that some verified “Premium” subscribers on X spreading misinformation about the Israel-Hamas armed conflict may be eligible for the ads revenue sharing program. The report identified 30 viral posts, reaching a total of 92 million views, with false or misleading claims about the conflict, but still featuring ads from major brands, nonprofits, educational institutions, and governments.
Return to sender. This article discusses how Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America,” written two decades ago, went viral on TikTok among a new generation, many of whom drew connections between bin Laden’s justification for the 9/11 attacks and the current Israel-Hamas conflict. It particularly focused on US support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, and claimed that what they learned about the Middle East and terrorism was a lie. TikTok responded by stating that content promoting the letter violates their rules on supporting terrorism, and they are actively removing such content.
RESPONSES TO DISINFORMATION
TikTok. Following a letter from the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton urging TikTok to align its response with the Digital Services Act (DSA), the platform announced it took down over 500.000 videos and 8.000 livestreams related to the Israel-Hamas conflict for violating its guidelines. It also stated it had taken various measures to address the issue, including improvements to its content detection systems, increasing the number of moderators speaking local languages, and engaging fact-checkers.
Meta. Also Meta was requested by the European Commission to provide information on its measures taken to comply with obligations to tackle the dissemination of illegal content and disinformation, and it announced it had taken a series of measures in response to the conflict, removing nearly 800.000 pieces of content in Hebrew and Arabic in the first few days of it, and, like TikTok, states they are working with third-party fact-checkers in the region.
Crowdsourcing fact-checking. This piece investigates the limitations of X’s crowdsourced ‘Community Notes’ fact-checking system in countering disinformation during conflicts, especially the issue of scaling to address situations where large numbers of small accounts repeat a false claim, and the restrictions posed by the platform’s API access.
Analysis & insights
Sifting through. The attack of Hamas on Israeli towns at the border with Gaza caused a considerable wave of disinformation on all major social media platforms. The European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) reviewed dozens of fact-checking articles and analysis, and published these major findings of the preliminary analysis, including a compilation of disinformation narratives and evaluation of how social media platforms have (or have not) managed to put in place systems to counter disinformation.
But who’s behind it? Who are those behind the Israel-Hamas disinformation and hate? Real individuals sharing false information inadvertently or on purpose, fake accounts, or bots? An Israel-based company analysing social media suggests that one if four pro-Hamas accounts taking part in conversations about the attacks might be fake. This BBC article highlights the challenges of identifying the sources behind this content.
Information warfare. What’s the role of misinformation and disinformation as a form of warfare on social media platforms during major global events, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict? This article discusses the evolving landscape of information warfare, and urges us to critically evaluate online content for signs of disinformation, emphasising the importance of fact-checking and critical thinking during times of crisis.
Information operations & international humanitarian law. Another article discussing the role of information operations during armed conflict, this one highlights the legal boundaries of information operations under international humanitarian law – while often lenient on disinformation, it imposes limits on information operations to protect the life and dignity of individuals during armed conflicts.
The role of AI. What’s the impact of generative AI on disinformation during the Israel-Hamas armed conflict? Despite initial concerns that AI generated fake images would flood the conflict, this article suggests that the role of AI has been more subtle.
Eluding the scrutiny. This DFRLab article reports that a large number of Facebook and TikTok accounts spread an article published on 19 October by an online Islamic State publication, Al-Nabaa, calling for violence against Jewish targets. Despite the explicit violation of platform policies, some accounts attempted to evade detection.
New elites. This article discusses the changing dynamics on X during the Israel-Hamas conflict. A group of influential accounts posting frequently about the conflict, often using emotional framing and visuals, has gained prominence on X, surpassing traditional news sources in terms of views and engagement. Also this article by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue raises concerns on the power shift toward social media personalities in shaping political news discourse.
Tips & tools
Hands-on fact-checking. This interview of Shayan Sardarizadeh, a senior journalist in BBC’s verification team, sheds light on the complexities of verifying content during conflicts, and the efforts to provide accurate and reliable information.
How to separate fact from fiction on social media in times of conflict? Dive into this short guide from Bellingcat that offers essential tips for discerning truth from a sea of online content.
How to avoid spreading misinformation & to report it? The Center for Countering Digital Hate offers practical guidance on how to avoid spreading disinformation, to increase your own information resilience, and to practise self-care during conflicts, emergencies, and disasters, and how to report social media posts that spread lies, conspiracies or misleading claims to the different platforms.
Stay safe. Human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and others speaking out on these issues are facing repressive tactics both in person and online. This digital resilience tip sheet by Access Now and SMEX supports you in defending against reported threats.