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Inside the social media propaganda battle between Israel and Hamas

A different social media war is being waged online between Israel and Hamas. .
A different social media war is being waged online between Israel and Hamas. .

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While Israel launches a ground offensive in Palestine against Hamas, a different war is being waged online. Both sides are battling via social media to disseminate propaganda messages and help shape public opinion on the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israel Defense Force employs a 40-person team in its interactive unit — including videographers, computer programmers, etc. — to help produce and spread messages sympathetic to Israel's plight. Hamas has tried to leverage social media degree, but their label as a terrorist organization in the U.S. and other Western countries has lead to the deactivation of some official accounts by Facebook and Twitter.

Both sides are using competing hashtags, such as #GazaUnderAttack — which has been used in millions of Twitter posts — and #IsraelUnderFire, which has been used considerably less.  

How are both sides using social media and propaganda to shape the conversation? What impact do these messages have on international public opinion of the conflict? How are Facebook and Twitter reacting?


Prof. William Youmans, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University in DC, specializing in transnationalism and news media in conflict with emphasis on the Middle East