The Israel-Hamas war is ongoing, and many people are turning to social media platforms like Twitter "X", YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to try and understand the conflict in real-time.
Searches for terms such as "#FreeGaza" and "live stream in Israel right now" show that there is a strong desire for firsthand perspectives on the situation. Users are finding videos of Palestinian children crying over the loss of loved ones, as well as footage of Israeli citizens taking shelter during attacks.
However, this demand for raw and unfiltered content has also opened the door for disinformation, conspiracy theories, and propaganda. Experts warn that these negative influences could be a dangerous threat to public discussions about the war.
Lately, the coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict on social media platforms has come under scrutiny from the British government and EU, as tech firms including X and Meta were urged to deal with a surge in violent and misleading content on their sites.
In the UK, the technology secretary summoned social media executives on Wednesday to demand the removal from their platforms of violent content related to the Hamas attacks on Israel.
Michelle Donelan called the meeting as the EU criticized Twitter company, about discussion of the conflict on its platform including fake news and the use of repurposed historical footage.
The EU’s intervention was followed by a demand to Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, to make sure it is being “vigilant” about illegal content on its platform after the Hamas raids.