Misinformation about the Hamas-Israel conflict is not only running rampant on social media but also in the mainstream media.
Researchers have already examined the responses on social media since Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and found that verifying information and tracking the spread of misleading material is getting harder.
Readers could protect themselves from misinformation by turning to outlets like Al Jazeera or watching live feeds on YouTube or TikTok to see what is happening in real-time.
Rebekah Tromble, the director of George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics, told NBC News that as misinformation and violent content surrounding the war is impossible to escape online and it “close to impossible” to do the work researchers were able to do less than a year ago as far as monitoring misinformation on social media.
“It has become much more difficult for researchers to collect and analyze meaningful data to understand what’s actually happening on any of these platforms,” she said.
Making the round on social media was a horrific claim that Hamas beheaded babies–it, of course, went viral and unchecked.
Despite the fact it was unconfirmed, the potentially fake news, which went from social media to mainstream media, was noticed by the Oval Office. President Joe Biden said, “I never really thought that I would see…have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children,” only for the White House to later clarify that the president had not seen such photos and was basing his remarks on media reports.
Yes, the social media claims made it to mainstream news outlets in the U.S. and abroad.
Reporters with i24NEWS, an Israeli TV network, for example, were among the first to report the claim, The Intercept reported. The Turkish news agency Anadolu first reported that the news was unconfirmed.
According to The Intercept, the “uncorroborated reports” were repeated by veteran journalists and politicians, from Fox News to CNN anchors. U.S. politicians, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., ran with the story as well and spread it even further on their social media accounts.
Photo by David Gomes: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-holding-burning-newspaper-2495160/