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Fake footage of the Iranian attack on Israel is spreading widely

Fake footage of the Iranian attack on Israel is spreading widely

In the hours after Iran announced its drone and missile attack on Israel on April 13, false and misleading posts spread almost immediately on X. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a non-profit think tank, is found A number of posts claimed to reveal the strikes and their impact, but instead used AI-generated videos and photos and repurposed footage from other conflicts that showed night-time missile launches, explosions, and even President Joe Biden in military uniform.

Just 34 of these misleading posts received more than 37 million views, according to ISD. Many of the accounts spreading the misinformation were also verified, meaning they paid It is amplified Through the platform's algorithm. ISD also found that several accounts claimed to be so Open source intelligence OSINT experts, which in recent years has become another way to legitimize their positions.

One post by , the Israeli missile defense system, during the attack, but the video was actually from October 2023. Both posts garnered hundreds of thousands of views in the hours after the strike was announced, and both originated from verified accounts. Iranian media He also shared a video of wildfires in Chile earlier this year, claiming to show the aftermath of the attacks. This also started spreading on X.

“The fact that so much misinformation and disinformation is being spread by accounts looking for influence or financial benefit provides cover for more nefarious actors, including Iranian state media passing off footage of the Chilean wildfires as damage caused by Iranian strikes on Iran,” Isabelle says. Frances Wright, Director of Technology and Society at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue: “Israel claims the operation was a military success.” “The erosion of the information landscape is undermining the public’s ability to distinguish truth from falsehood on a terrible scale.”

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X did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Although misinformation about conflicts and crises has long found a place on social media, X is also often used to obtain vital real-time information. But under Elon Musk's leadership, the company has reduced content moderation and misinformation has flourished. In the days following the October 7 Hamas attack, X was flooded with disinformation, making it difficult for legitimate OSINT researchers to uncover the information. Under Musk, X has promoted its crowd-sourced community feedback function as a way to combat misinformation on the platform to mixed results. Some of the content identified by ISD has since received community feedback, although there were only two posts by the time the organization published its findings.

“In times of crisis, this seems to be a recurring pattern on platforms like “This is still happening and will continue to happen in the future, making it more difficult to know what is real and what is not,” says Mustafa Ayyad, executive director of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue for Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

And for those who are part of X Subscription form And Advertising revenue sharing modelGoing viral could mean making money.

Although it's not clear whether any of the users posting fake or misleading information identified by ISD were monetizing their content, there is a separate report a report A report released by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) earlier this month found that between October 7 and February 7, ten influencers, Including far-right influencer Jackson Hinkle, they managed to increase their following by posting anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic content about the conflict. Six of the accounts examined by CCDH were part of X's subscription program, and all ten were verified users. the High-profile influencers Part of X's ad revenue sharing program receives a portion of ad revenue based on “organic ad impressions displayed in responses” to its content, according to a company.

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