It is becoming common practice to turn to Social Media first for news, but what happens when citizen bloggers lack editorial integrity and produce misleading information? The crisis in Gaza highlights the media's dilemma.
The Twitter hashtag #gazaunderattack, which emerged as Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against the Palestinian territory earlier this month, was founded on the presumption that news media are failing to report the story.
Graphic violent images of civilians under fire were posted in large numbers, suggesting that news organisations were turning a blind eye to the attacks. “The media are not reporting anything,” was the hashtag’s catch line.
But social media, especially in its treatment of the Middle East, has become a minefield of propaganda and misinformation.
Analysis by Abdirahim Saeed of BBC Arabic found that some of the pictures of violence circulated on the #gazaunderattack thread were recycled images from as long ago as 2007. Some were not even from Gaza at all but showed events from the ongoing conflict in Syria. Many of the pictures have since been widely distributed as the subjects of thousands of retweets.
For the full story by Ian Burrell, click here.