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As Israel-Hamas War Persists, Misleading Contents Floods Social Media Platforms

ROUNDCHECK has noticed several misleading contents spreading across social media platforms about the Israel-Hamas war. We have carefully analysed the claims and have done due diligence to reveal the authenticity of some of the information we obtained.

Israel-Hamas War
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On the 7th of October, the Palestinian militant group, Hamas launched an attack from the Gaza strip on Israel on 7 October, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Heavily armed men breached the fences separating Israel and Gaza and entered southern Israel. According to Israeli officials, at least 1,400 people were killed, many of them civilians, including children.

Following this attack, Israel Officially Declared War on Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “is at war” after Hamas launched a devastating surprise attack on the country on Saturday, 7th October.

“Citizens of Israel, we are at war. Not an operation, not a round [of fighting,] at war! This morning Hamas initiated a murderous surprise attack against the state of Israel and its citizens,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The war has persisted for more than 10 days while recording more than 2000 deaths, thousands injured and more than 1 million have had to flee their homes.

What Is Hamas and Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip, which some have called “the world’s largest open-air prison,” is a narrow piece of land between Israel and Egypt.

More than 2 million Palestinians live in the 140-square-mile enclave, making it one of earth’s most densely populated places. Hamas is currently controlling it.

Hamas, also spelled Ḥamās, the acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement), is described as a militant Palestinian nationalist and Islamist movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that is dedicated to the establishment of an independent Islamic state in historical Palestine.

It was founded in 1987, and was labeled a foreign terrorist organization in 1997, by the United States, freezing its U.S.-based assets, barring members from entering the country, and banning the provision of “material support or resources”.

HAMAS has been the de-facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007 when it ousted the Palestinian Authority from power.

Misleading Contents Found In The Israel-Hamas War

ROUNDCHECK has noticed several misleading contents spreading across social media platforms about the Israel-Hamas war. We have carefully analysed the claims and have done due diligence to reveal the authenticity of some of the information we obtained.

Claim 1

A video clip claimed that Harvard University students demonstrated against Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.

The video posted on October 19th, was shared multiple times with that caption across and Facebook, generating thousands of views and reactions.

A screenshot of the claim on X.

We also saw this video and same caption was shared multiple times on X

A merged image of all X accounts that posted the same video with the caption.

ROUNDCHECK Findings

We subjected the video to INVid, a video verification tool that provided us with several keyframes.

We later conducted a Google reverse image search, which revealed the said video was a protest in downtown Dallas Texas.

A News & media website, Mega News,  uploaded the video on their Instagram account on October 16th with the caption “Huge protest in downtown Dallas Texas in solidarity with Palestine and the oppressed people of Gaza!!”

A screenshot of the Mega News TV uploaded video on Instagram

We further confirmed the location of the protest through Google Maps.

However, our findings further revealed that although there was a protest by Harvard University students, it wasn’t until the 18th of October, two days after the video surfaced.

Harvard students held a protest in support of Palestine and marched from Harvard’s main campus in Cambridge to its business school in Boston.

The video was used in another event, not the Harvard University student protests.

Verdict

ROUNDCHECK Misleading

This video clip claiming that Harvard University students demonstrated against Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians is misleading.

Claim 2

A San Francisco former TV anchor at KTVU, Frank Somerville, on his verified Facebook page on the 20th of October, shared his opinion about the Isreal-Hamas war.

Somerville referenced Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant visit to some of the hundreds of thousands of troops who have massed on the border with Gaza.

This post also accompanied four images depicting the level of damage the current war has had on the people of Palestine.

A screenshot of the post made

This post garnered 199 reactions, 265 comments, and 30 shares as at the time of this report.

We checked through the images and noticed one of them was an old picture.

ROUNDCHECK Findings

ROUNDCHECK in a bid to verify the images, subjected them to several image verification tools and noticed one of the images was an old picture used in May 2021.

One of the images used in Frank Somerville Facebook post discovered to be an old image.

Our findings revealed that this picture was also recently used in a post on WBAI – 99.5 FM In New York City website, and also a Hong Kong news website, BNN News.

We, however, traced the image to a post made by Oxfam America on their website published on May 19, 2021, with the title “Nearly half a million people in Gaza out of reach of humanitarian aid”.

A screenshot of the post on Oxfam America’s website

We went further to check and saw a news report published on 16th May 2021 of a bombardment of the home of the Hamas political chief in Gaza. The image used in the news report was a similar image.

The image seen on the 16th May 2021 report.

Both images with similarities clearly marked.

Verdict

ROUNDCHECK Misleading

One of the images used in the Facebook post of Somerville to depict the level of damage the current war has had on the people of Palestine is MISLEADING.

 

Editor’s Note: The war between Isreal-Hamas-Palestine continues but there are a range of misleading images used to depict the war and it is necessary to debunk them.

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