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USA News

Israel-Hamas war: technological platforms under surveillance following the spread of false explicit messages


As war erupted in recent days with a Hamas attack and an Israeli response that left an estimated 4,100 dead in Israel and Gaza, gruesome images and misinformation have spread widely across major social media platforms.

Whether it’s repurposed video game footage masquerading as videos showing military engagements, imposter accounts spreading false information about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or violent and graphic images flooding Twitter feeds. The current situation, the rapid evolution of the conflict and the volume of these publications constitute a challenge for social networks. platforms as they attempt to enforce rules against false or violent content.

False or horribly graphic posts have spread across X and Meta-owned Instagram and Facebook, as well as TikTok.

European Union Commissioner Thierry Breton wrote public letters to TikTok, Financial sanctions could result from possible violations, Breton added.

In a job On X on Monday, the company said it had been paying close attention to the outpouring of content on the platform related to the war between Israel and Hamas.

There were more than 50 million messages worldwide about the Hamas attack on Israel in the two days after the attack began on October 7, X said.

“As events continue to rapidly unfold, a cross-company leadership group has assessed this moment as a crisis requiring the highest level of response,” the company said. “This means we are focused and committed to protecting the conversation on X and enforcing our rules while continuing to assess the situation on the platform.”

In response to Breton’s letter, Linda Yaccarino, CEO of said As of Wednesday, the company had labeled or removed tens of thousands of pieces of content related to the war between Israel and Hamas. “We continue to respond quickly to requests from law enforcement around the world,” Yaccarino added.

In response to a request for comment from ABC News, Meta pointed to a statement issued by a company spokesperson after receiving Breton’s letter: “Our teams are working around the clock to ensure the security of our platforms , take action against content that violates our “

Plumes of smoke rise during Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City on October 12, 2023 as fighting rages between Israel and the Hamas movement continues for the sixth consecutive day.

Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

In a blog post published Friday, Meta said it removed or marked as disturbing more than 795,000 pieces of Hebrew and Arabic content for violating its content moderation policies over a three-day period after the Hamas attack last Saturday.

In response to ABC News’ request for comment, a TikTok spokesperson said the company uses automated tools as well as 40,000 content moderators to police posts on the platform. In response to the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, the company increased content moderation resources it devotes to related posts as well as posts in Hebrew and Arabic, the spokesperson added.

Each of the platforms – X, Meta and TikTok – has a policy banning accounts linked to Hamas, as the group has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the US government.

Under a European law called the Digital Services Act, or DSA, social media platforms are required to combat misinformation. Fines resulting from violations of the law can total up to 6% of each company’s overall turnover.

On Thursday, the EU took a further step towards cracking down on X, opening an investigation into the alleged distribution of illegal content and filing a formal request for information from the company. The EU has asked X to provide the relevant information by next Wednesday at the latest.

This order follows indications of “alleged dissemination of illegal content and disinformation, in particular the dissemination of terrorist and violent content and hate speech,” Breton said.

X did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the investigation, nor has the company publicly responded to it.


ABC News

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