Social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) said it is removing accounts affiliated with Palestinian terror group Hamas in an effort to curb the spread of “terrorist content” online.
X’s safety account said late Monday that posts from daily active users in Israel have increased since Hamas launched a surprise attack on the country over the weekend. Users have also shared more than 50 million posts related to the attack, X said. Some of the posts mischaracterized video or showed graphic footage and have driven the spread of misinformation on X and elsewhere across the internet.
Under its “Violent and Hateful Entities Policy,” X said it will remove newly created Hamas-affiliated accounts and take other steps to stem the proliferation what it referred to as terrorist content on the platform. Those actions include addressing and removing certain posts that include graphic media as well as violent and hate speech.
X also said it is monitoring the platform for antisemitic speech. It added that it is coordinating with other social media platforms to stem the spread of terrorist content across the internet through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT).
“In this rapidly evolving situation, we continue to work with our members to identify and follow trends in content and activity online related to terrorist and violent extremist actors involved in the offline violence,” GIFCT said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “This includes the possibility that a range of terrorist and violent extremist networks and groups may seek to exploit the conflict for their own purposes, as we have seen in past events.”
A spokesperson for X did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.
Some of the posts under scrutiny and that violate X policies include old video footage falsely alleging to show images from Hamas’ current attack. X flagged such posts as containing media being “presented out of context.”
Hate speech jumped on the the service after X owner Elon Musk laid off content moderators, studies have shown.
Dina Sadek, a Middle East research fellow at Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, told CBS MoneyWatch that “there is a ton of misinformation about how this operation came to be and what parties were involved,” referring to the Hamas attack.
Sadek also expressed concern that violent, hateful and inaccurate posts could “potentially fuel hate speech and incite further violence.”
Israel said the surprise attack killed at least 900 people and wounded some 2,500 more. As of Tuesday morning, Israeli airstrikes on Hamas-run Gaza following the assault had killed at 765 people and wounded 4,000 more, according to health officials in the region.
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