Be social media savvy 

At the best of times it can be tricky navigating social media. During conflicts that involve Israel and affect the Jewish community – when emotions are charged, the rhetoric is harsh and mis- and disinformation abounds –  it’s a good idea to refresh your communication game. Here are five ways to do that… 

1 Stop helping with the propaganda and disinformation war. Select articles, videos and other content to share from credible sources only. In the digital age, false information spreads far quicker than the truth and, thanks to AI, is getting harder to identify. If the story is particularly sensational – such as the al-Ahli Hospital bombing in Gaza that was at first attributed to Israel but soon after found to be the fault of a failed rocket launch by Islamic Jihad – the damage may already be done despite the truth of the situation emerging later on. Cross-reference that what you are sharing is backed up by several credible news sources and, if you aren’t sure, wait for the full picture before posting or sharing. 

2 Think before you click. This attack by Hamas was particularly grotesque and violent, captured on camera by the terrorists as part of their social media strategy. Many pro-Hamas content creators have used this material to their advantage, generating click-bait content. It’s human nature to be curious but sharing and clicking-through on TikTok and YouTube adds views, manipulates the algorithm to boost their posts, as well as increases financial compensation for these creators – some of which likely gets channelled into organisations that are encouraging terror and spreading propaganda. 

3 Don’t add to the emotion or fear. The truth is that, as Jewish communities around the world, we are all concerned by the rising tide of antisemitism and hostilities. It’s empowering to be informed but content that is unfiltered and without context, or that fans the flames of fear, is not productive. Try to restrain yourself from sharing inflammatory messages or videos. By us sharing them, we’re inadvertently spreading their messaging and adding to our own and other’s anxiety.  

4 Share consciously & be safe. The words we use and the information we share matter, in particular, when talking about issues that affect Israel and the Jewish people. Be mindful of what you put out into the world. Similarly, be careful of the online footprint you leave. Don’t engage with social media accounts or individuals that are hostile to Israel and the Jewish community. Avoid watching ‘Live’ stories on Facebook or Instagram of pro-Palestinian organisations: some of whom are known to harvest data regarding viewers. 

5 Engage your emotional intelligence. Know your audience. You’re never going to convince everyone of your viewpoint – especially those with extremist views. Often, it’s not worth ‘going there’, as much as you might want to. Report anything antisemitic, suspicious or threatening.

Newspaper headline from abroad: Gaza hospital blast was caused by misfired rocket, says European source 
A misfired rocket launched by a Palestinian faction in Gaza was likely responsible for the al-Ahli hospital blast, according to a European military source interviewed by FRANCE 24. The death toll of the explosion, which Hamas attributed to an Israeli air strike is likely to be lower than announced the same source said.

Each time you share other people’s posts on social media, you could be providing organisations with information about yourself. Do you really want to create more of a risk for your safety?

Antisemitic acts or threats: WhatsApp 079 994 5573
Suspicious activity: call 086 18 911 18

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• Published in the December 2023/January 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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