Forty-two days into the Israel-Gaza war, the call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire remains the priority. In addition to the thousands of mounting civilian casualties, dozens of journalists and media workers have been killed, injured, missing, arrested, assaulted, and censored while trying to report on this war. 

In the first weeks following October 7, Meedan, WITNESS and SMEX formed a coalition to collaborate on producing open-access resources for fact-checkers, OSINT1 investigators, journalists and human rights defenders involved in documentation efforts around the ongoing war. The Arab Centre for the Advancement of Social Media, 7amleh, has now joined the coalition, and will be contributing to the repository of resources which is now also available in Arabic.   

The latest resources cover topics such as mental health for open-source researchers, digital safety for human rights activists, ethical reporting and representation of children in war reporting. Join this effort by contributing and/or requesting resources through this form

Open-source investigation into a Gaza convoy attack 

Meedan’s open-source investigations team at NAWA Media published the first of a series of reports in collaboration with Beirut partner Legal Agenda. The investigations will also be available in English on The Public Source, a Beirut-based independent media outlet and a Meedan partner.

In this report, the OSINT team monitored and analyzed open-source content — from Google Earth, social media, and broadcast news footage — to break down the circumstances surrounding the attacks on a group of vehicles carrying displaced civilians in Gaza on October 13, 2023. 

Supporting fact-checking initiatives

Fact-checking on WhatsApp: Meedan is partnering with Palestinian fact-checking platform Kashif to respond to claims through a Whatsapp channel powered by Meedan’s Check platform. The Check workspace will also facilitate collaboration and data sharing between Kashif and NAWA Media Newsroom.

OSINT for fact-checkers: Following requests we received from local media and fact-checking partners, we organized an in-depth virtual session that trained fact-checkers covering the war on advanced OSINT skills — like verifying photos, footage and claims circulating online. If you want to get involved in the next OSINT session, get in touch with us.

Fact-checkers around the world take on Gaza misinformation

Amid the Israel-Gaza war, Indian right-wing accounts are among the leading amplifiers of anti-Palestinian misinformation. Our partners in India have responded to misleading claims that range from sensationalist claims to deep fakes.

The Quint (India) continues to produce fact-checks on the war, “the volume of which has refused to go down,” Abhilash Mallick from The Quint told us. With a section dedicated to the ‘Israel war’ on their website, they have been debunking images and videos, AI-generated content and content targeting minority communities in India. The team also produced an in-depth report related to false claims used to question the death toll in Gaza.

BOOM (India) recently published a report on verified Indian accounts on X that are spreading or amplifying disinformation on the war. In order to respond to the sheer volume of mis/disinformation, they worked on a monthly report focusing on the war.

Our Turkish fact-checking partner Teyit also created a special section to cover the war and share their latest fact-checks. The page also features a timeline that serves as a chronological explainer of key political and military events prior to Oct. 7, 2023. Other Meedan partners including Rappler, Fatabyyano, Taiwan FactCheck Center, VERA Files and Agencia Lupa have also joined the fight. 

Meedan-WITNESS joint tech fund 

On Thursday [november 16, 2023] Gaza went into another communication blackout with cell phones, landlines and Wifi going offline as a result of depleted access to fuel to operate main data centers and switches. 

As part of Meedan’s ongoing collaboration with WITNESS on the Gaza war response efforts, we have set up a joint tech fund which we are using to supply eSims, VPNs and other tech support to individuals and organizations operating in Gaza and the West Bank. These 50GB eSims work in 35 countries and have been tested and used by people in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. We are able to offer access to up to one year of VPN service. 

Please reach out to us if you would like to know more and/or contribute to the fund, or if you know organizations who could benefit from these resources.   

This news update on our activities was published in a November 2023 special issue of Meedan’s Checklist newsletter.

Interested in keeping up with the latest blogs from Meedan? Subscribe to the Checklist Newsletter!

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Footnotes

1 OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) is the collection and analysis of data gathered from open sources to produce actionable intelligence.

Tags
Israel Gaza War
Misinformation
Disinformation
Fact-Checking
NAWA Media

Footnotes

  1. Online conversations are heavily influenced by news coverage, like the 2022 Supreme Court decision on abortion. The relationship is less clear between big breaking news and specific increases in online misinformation.
  2. The tweets analyzed were a random sample qualitatively coded as “misinformation” or “not misinformation” by two qualitative coders trained in public health and internet studies.
  3. This method used Twitter’s historical search API
  4. The peak was a significant outlier compared to days before it using Grubbs' test for outliers for Chemical Abortion (p<0.2 for the decision; p<0.003 for the leak) and Herbal Abortion (p<0.001 for the decision and leak).
  5. All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.

References

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Published on
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023