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Israel, Palestine take fight to social networks

Sharon Gaudin | Nov. 19, 2012
As Israeli and Hamas forces continue to clash, firing rockets on each other, they've also launched a war of hashtags, English-language tweets and videos on sites like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.

AlqassamBrigade also posted a YouTube video of what appears to be a downed unmanned Israeli drone. To go along with it, they tweeted, "idfelite enjoy this>> losers."

The video has been viewed more than 30,000 times.

"These posts definitely do have an impact on not only local opinions, but also world opinions," said Jim McGregor, an analyst with Tirias Research. "In that respect, support, in the form of politics or other resources, may impact the outcome of the conflict ... I have friends in Lebanon, and seeing the images from my friends definitely makes the violence real."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said taking this kind of violent conflict to social networks makes sense.

"It lets them reach more people faster," he added. "Think about the multiplier effect with people retweeting and reposting."

Social media, according to Kerravala, has changed the way people communicate around the world.

However, a dose of skepticism is needed when viewing any of these tweets, photos or videos, the analysts noted. The information is being put out there by a biased, one-sided machine.

An online ruckus erupted in the last few weeks when people tweeting for the Al Qassam Brigade posted a photo of a child supposedly killed in Gaza by an Israeli rocket attack. It was later revealed that the photo came from an October incident in Syria.

Even if the information is accurate, some of the images may be extremely graphic and unsettling to view.

"I have received some [images] that I wish I had not," McGregor said. However, "you may not be receiving correct information, ... just as quickly as someone can post inaccurate information, someone else can discredit it. Like all other information on the Internet, it should be taken with some level of skepticism."


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