In times of conflict, social media has been used as a way to track unfolding events in real-time. But trying to keep afloat of events in Israel and Gaza proves otherwise. Euronews has rounded up some of the most viral and misleading claims.
After the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel this Saturday, social media platforms have become important tools for tracking the unfolding conflict.
But the flood of misinformation is so important, Euronews decided to debunk some of the most viral and misleading images allegedly coming out of Israel and Gaza.
Videos and images widely shared on social media show the horror on the ground, including an attack on a music festival where Israeli rescuers say they found 260 people dead. Israel has retaliated with deadly strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Both parties have turned to social media to engage in information warfare, with numerous posts and claims that are actually misleading.
No, Gaza is not engulfed in red flames
The first video is one we received from a viewer. It claims to show an Israeli attack on Gaza, with the territory engulfed in red flames.
After a reverse image search, The Cube found the video was filmed in Algeria shortly after the football club Belouizdad was officially declared the winner of the championship season in July 2023.
These are not explosions but rather fireworks and we found another video from 2020 showing similar scenes in Algeria when the same football club won, implying this is a common way for football fans to celebrate the victory of their club.
The US did not approve a $8 billion package for Israel
Another false claim shared thousands of times is that the US government allegedly approved a package of more than $8 billion (€7.57 billion) for Israel over the weekend.
However, the viral document published on X has been digitally altered. The original memorandum was published in July 2023, detailing $400m (€378 million) in aid to Ukraine authorised by US President Joe Biden.
For 2023, Congress appropriated $3.8 billion (€3.6 billion) in funding for Israel, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service, as reported by NBC News.
A 2017 video from Mexico presented as the Israel-Palestine conflict
One video misleadingly claims to show an intense gunfight between Israeli forces and Hamas fighters.
By doing a reverse image search, The Cube found the video was filmed in 2017 in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The YouTube video caption claims the clip shows a shootout between police officers and drug cartels.
The viral video of a lost Israeli girl predates the escalation
A video of two men asking a girl the whereabouts of her parents has been falsely claimed online to show an Israeli girl with her Palestinian kidnappers.
But the original video was posted in September 2023, a month before Hamas's surprise attack.
Another clue the video has been miscaptioned is that the girl responds to the men by pointing in a direction, seemingly able to understand what is being said - which could be seen as unlikely for an Israeli girl to understand Arabic.
Elon Musk under fire
Misinformation is so rife at the moment on the platform X that even its boss Elon Musk pleaded with users on Sunday to try and stick to the facts, as critics lashed out against the billionaire for the proliferation of fake news on the site, arguing that his cuts to the platform's content moderation teams have allowed bad actors and untrustworthy accounts to flourish.
The tech billionaire has also been accused of promoting antisemitism after recommending X users follow an account that has repeatedly disparaged Jewish people for updates on the attack on Israel.