Waco, TX (FOX 44) — As we witness the fourth week of war between Israel and Hamas experts are chiming in on what information is real and what is fake online.
Individuals are taking it upon themselves to become well versed in the international conflict using social media among other platforms.
The Austin Anti-Defamation League Chapter says its normal for propaganda to circulate in times of war.
Its director, Jackie Nirenberg, says the conflict is a perfect opportunity for agents of chaos to take advantage of the situation.
“War is never an easy time and it’s never fast, and so there’s a lot of time for these conspiracy theories or misinformation to sort of take root and fester and grow,” said Nirenberg.
Nirenberg says social media posts on the war can heighten emotions about what’s really happening overseas.
“Something reads as sensational. All caps. Using sort of incendiary language. Lots of hyperbole.
Baylor associate professor of communications Dr. Scott Varda says the visceral nature of these posts is another factor to consider on social media.
“Social media has become particularly well designed for the smooth, easy, and low cost dissemination of mis, dis, and malinformation,” said Dr. Varda.
An example Dr. Varda gave was on the hospital bombing in Gaza.
“A screenshot of an Israeli official taking ‘credit’ for the hospital bombing that was widely circulated on Facebook, or at least made to look like it had been a screenshot from a Facebook post was then shared also on TikTok and Twitter/X,” said Dr. Varda.
To stay vigilant on what’s accurate online Dr. Varda and Nirenberg say to verify where the information came from and to check multiple platforms.
“Don’t look at just one source. Look at other sources. Look at sources that are disparate in their perspective because that can tell you a lot as well,” said Nirenberg.
As we witness this international conflict, the ADL wants to remind everyone this is a complex situation and more details and clarity will come in the future.