Social media faces explosion of lies about the Israel-Hamas conflict
Washington.- Social media platforms are grappling with a deluge of misinformation surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict after relaxing content moderation policies. Researchers have noted that the speed and scale at which online disinformation spread following the recent attack on Israel by Hamas was unprecedented. They argue that major platforms like Facebook (Meta) and Twitter (formerly X) have struggled to combat false information due to layoffs and cost cuts that have affected trust and security teams. Controversial measures taken by these platforms have encouraged engagement over precision, raising concerns about the risk of disinformation causing real-world harm, and amplifying hate and violence during an ongoing crisis.
Users have been inundated with fake combat photos, repurposed videos from Syria made to appear as if they’re from Gaza, and video game footage passed off as actual Hamas attacks. The spread of such misinformation, including fake images of hostages, poses a significant concern. Social media platforms have become crucial sources of information during crises, but the onslaught of scammers and algorithms that promote extreme and disturbing content undermines their reliability for accessing accurate information. This situation has led experts to describe social media platforms as “fundamentally broken” and less useful for providing reliable news and information.