Under Israeli-Palestinian tension, how misinformation can trigger more fear
According to the New York Times technology reporter Sheera Frenkel (Sheera Frenkel), amid rising tensions in Israel and Gaza, misinformation shared by apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram has caused fear and mistrust.
Last week, Frenkel monitored about 100 local Israeli and Palestinian information groups as part of the organization Times Investigation.
Frenkel said in an interview that information sharing, warning Israeli soldiers to enter Gaza, never happened. trendy Matt Galloway.
She said: “We saw a lot of information exchange, saying:’Israelis are here. Let your children go home. Israeli soldiers have been found in Gaza City.'”
In another group, she noticed warnings that Palestinian mobs were preparing to land in several suburbs north of Tel Aviv, but Frenkel said that in the following days, she found no reports of violence.
She said: “There is a tweet…that…”If someone knocks on your front door, please be aware that this may be a Palestinian militant in disguise.” “I want to say that both sides are watching the reaction to this in real time, only the real The fear, the real horror.”
Watch | Israel, Hamas agrees to ceasefire
The ceasefire took effect at the beginning of FridayAfter 11 days of fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 243 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes, including 66 children.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they had at least 20 fighters killed, while Israel said at least 160.
Twelve people were killed in Israel, including a five-year-old boy, a sixteen-year-old girl and a soldier.
Frenkel said she found some misleading information in the group she analyzed. These messages include videos, photos, and text, which include false information (the images and text carry unsubstantiated warnings from unnamed sources) and misinformation, such as real images that are incorrectly assigned to the wrong place or time.
She said there are tens of thousands of users in these 100 groups, of which the largest group on the messaging platform Telegram has about 4,000 members.
She said that in times of conflict, emotional content can often be shared without fact checking because “people are very eager to know what is going on.”
She said: “This is one of the powerful functions for handling misinformation. When it is shared as a group, you tend to trust it more.”
“You might think,’Oh, I’m helping my neighbors. I told them that they might launch an attack.” But, in fact, what you are doing inspires more fear. “
Misinformation propagation is “exponential”
Frenkel said that misinformation about the conflict is still being shared on more public platforms.
Last week, Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Benjamin Netanyahu), shared a video on Twitter that showed that Palestinian militants fired rockets at Israel from a location near residential buildings.he Wrote that the rocket was launched from “a densely populated area of ??the Gaza Strip.”
Frenkel said that the same clip appeared in a post dating back to 2018 with a different title, and some claimed that the video clip showed militants firing rockets in Libya and other Syrian borders.
Twitter marked the video as “misleading content.” Gendelman later deleted the tweet, but Frenkel stated that the video has been shared and liked hundreds of times.
She said: “Each share may mean more shares, which is exponential.”
Earlier this month, a widely shared video showed Israelis dancing and singing at the western wall of the old city of Jakelum, while the Al-Aqsa Mosque appeared to be burning in the background.
Ayman Odeh, who leads a coalition of mainly Arab parties in the Knesset, is one of many prominent figures who shared the video on Twitter.
He tweeted with a one-word title “shock” in the tweet.
It has been reposted more than 36,000 times, many of which are from pro-Palestinian reports claiming that the crowd is celebrating the destruction of the mosque, which is highly regarded by Muslims.
The Times of Israel and other local media According to reports, the crowd is celebrating Jerusalem Day, which marks the unification of the city by Israel due to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. The revelers are there because the place where the mosque is located (called the Temple Mount by the Jews) is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.
A video taken from another angle shows a tree on fire outside the mosque.No flames hit the building, and The cause of the fire is controversial.
Everything is shared
Jeffrey Dvorkin, a senior researcher at Massey College at the University of Toronto and author of the Journal of the University of Toronto, said that powerful and emotional images have attracted so-called prejudice confirmation by sociologists. Believe in the news of the digital age.
Dworkin said: “Having such information has confirmed what we already believe, which is more comforting.” Dworkin said, he is also the former executive editor and chief reporter of CBC Broadcasting Corporation.
“This is the problem of the Middle East problem because it is so powerful and so exciting, and now the image has become part of the discussion.”
It is so powerful, so moving, and now the image has become part of the discussion.-Jeffrey Dvorkin
Dvorkin said that the role of the media as fact checkers and information guards has been weakened, which makes it easier to spread false information.
He said: “Everything becomes sharable. This is good for the idea of ??media democracy, but it is not so important for media literacy.”
He said that the audience will be confused or get information based on face.
He said: “Or they are actually saying:’Everyone goes to hell. No one makes sense to me. So why should I continue to care?'”
Dvorkin said that more media literacy is needed, and news organizations need to put more emphasis on explaining how the information they share is verified and how false information is debunked.
Watch | How real information evolved into fake stories:
He said that having said that, some people are becoming more sophisticated in detecting misinformation.
“As long as organizations, governments or individuals try to put something on the Internet, they can now be found easily. The problem is that the damage has already been done.”
Communication applications bring challenges
The pandemic prompts social media companies Increase efforts to prevent false or harmful information Post to their website by attaching warnings or adding links to public health resources.
But because the content is not related to COVID-19, Frenkel said the threshold for deleting posts is still high.
She said: “Unless it causes harm, social media companies will not take it down unless it meets very, very certain standards.”
She said that information shared on messaging services such as WhatsApp is even more difficult to resolve.
WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption, which means that once someone clicks to send an email, WhatsApp itself encrypts it and makes it unreadable. The company can only see the metadata, not the actual content. It is not decrypted until it reaches the receiver.
Different kinds The government has promoted For companies that use the technology to introduce backdoors, law enforcement agencies can access records related to criminal investigations and national security, but so far, the company still refuses, stating that hackers can also access these backdoors.
WhatsApp tries to slow down the spread of harmful information by introducing so-called friction during the sharing process. Last year, it set restrictions on how to forward messages from one user to another.
After sharing five times, the message can only be forwarded to a new group at a time. (As of 2018, users can forward messages to 250 groups at the same time. The company has been gradually reducing this number.)
Within a few weeks of introducing the changes, WhatsApp cited 70% reduction In frequently forwarded emails.
Frenkel said that some people did find a solution: “They copy and paste instead of forwarding something.”
Written by Padraig Moran, accompanied by Associated Press documents. Produced by Howard Goldenthal and Ben Jamieson.
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