Online disinformation during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Who spreads disinformation online during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? According to the BBC, it is likely that the very active accounts on Platform X that share pro-Israel and anti-Muslim content are based in India and express support for the authorities there daily. In turn, according to Cyabra, an Israeli company analyzing social media, every fifth account participating in conversations about Hamas since the attacks on October 7 this year is false, i.e. handled automatically or by people using a false identity. Cyabra was supposed to find approximately 40,000 such accounts, including on the X and TikTok platforms.
Internet users say social media platforms hide posts containing hashtags such as “#FreePalestine” and “#IStandWithPalestine”, as well as messages expressing support for Palestinian civilians who are suffering in attacks by Israeli troops. Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube and TikTok are to censor accounts and limit the reach (so-called shadowbanning) of pro-Palestinian content. Already in 2022, an independent report commissioned by Meta following Israel’s 2021 war in the Gaza Strip found that the company had negatively impacted the human rights of Palestinian users in areas such as “freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political participation, and the issue of discrimination.”
Hamas is banned from using most social media platforms except the Telegram app. Since the attack on Israel on October 7 2023, the number of followers of the armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, increased threefold, and the account views increased more than ten times.