How fake AI images & Hamas propaganda are ‘indoctrinating a generation’ as they spread on TikTok & X

How fake AI images & Hamas propaganda are ‘indoctrinating a generation’ as they spread on TikTok & X

FAKE AI-generated images and Hamas propaganda on social media are warping a generation of young people, experts have warned.

Since Hamas’ brutal massacre in Israel, misinformation watchdogs have warned that technology could be weaponised by hate groups and far-right internet trolls to confuse the public and turbocharge propaganda efforts.

TwitterAn AI generated image depicts a baby trapped in rubble in Gaza[/caption]

TwitterAnother shows a toddler standing in rubble after an airstrike[/caption]

An AI image of an injured boy with six fingers was shared with the caption ‘raise your hand if you STAND with Palestine’Instgram

In the age of the internet and social media, it’s become increasingly difficult to work out what is really happening on the ground in Gaza and Israel.

And analysts monitoring the war have noted a new and “concerning” link between pro-Hamas sentiment and online far-right communities.

Forums and platforms such as X/ Twitter, TikTok, Telegram and Reddit have seen an uptick in the spread of fake news, images, video and audio since October 7, experts said.

AI-generated images and video related to the conflict are rampant – including hate-fuelled memes targeting Jewish people, and crafted efforts to deceive the public. 

Old footage from previous wars or disasters – and even video games – have been dredged up and shared online, claiming to be from Gaza, along with gruesome AI images of dead children.

AI has improved significantly in recent years and nearly anyone can now go online and use an AI generator to produce images, video or audio.

Its widespread use means it’s easier for malicious actors to dismiss authentic images, video and audio as AI-generated – creating suspicion, confusion and boosting propaganda efforts.

Israeli lawyer Ami H. Orkaby said Hamas are resorting to “increasingly sophisticated dirty tricks to press home their advantage”.

This reportedly includes cyber companies hiring bots to blast pro-Israeli posts with hundreds of pro-Palestinian messages.

Ami claims bots are also being used to submit fake reports to social media platform moderators in a bid to get accounts suspended or deactivated – such as pro-Israel accounts.

He also raised concerns about social media becoming a so-called echo chamber for young people – where users who view or search certain topics are shown more or more or the same content and risk being brainwashed.

Writing for Mail Online, Ami – a former senior adviser in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office – said: “When it comes to propagandising online, Hamas has a massive inbuilt advantage.

He warned “a grotesque level of ignorance about the true nature of Hamas means that many in the West are susceptible to the terrorists’ propaganda”.

“A generation of young people has been brainwashed by a specific narrative, which is reinforced by an endless round of demonstrations,” he added.

A sinister combination of fake news, bogus images and manipulation of social media means Israel is “losing the battle for hearts and minds on the street”, he said.

Fake images that have plagued the internet since the war broke out include an AI image of a giant Palestinian flag being held up at a football match in Madrid – which has been viewed millions of times.

A generation of young people has been brainwashed by a specific narrative

Ami H. Orkaby

Users quickly suggested it was an AI-generated image after spotting distorted bodies in the image as a telltale sign.

But it didn’t stop it from being widely shared – with many believing it to be a true image.

On X, AI-generated images show what appears to be injured children running from air strikes in Gaza with the hashtag #StopIsraelCrimes.

Another image shows a fake AI-generated image of “tent city” – which users claimed was constructed for Israeli refugees.

The image was shared widely on Instagram and X – where anti-Israel commenters said they hoped the camp would be destroyed.

But the Israeli flag with two Stars of David on it suggests the content is not real.

A Hamas-linked Telegram channel also shared images of PM Benjamin Netanyahu that had been altered to cover him in blood.

And on Telegram and 4Chan, users are reportedly being encouraged to create “propaganda for fun” – mostly glorifying Hamas and spreading false narratives, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Alex Mahadevan, the director of the Poynter media literacy program MediaWise, told the New York Times: “People will believe anything that confirms their beliefs or makes them emotional.

“It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how novel it looks, or anything like that.”


New software that can mimic people’s voices is also posing a major problem.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League – one of America’s best-known organisations that fights antisemitism – was targeted by the technology.

A man claiming to be Jonathan – and sounding very similar to him – called into a city council meeting in California to promote the work of an antisemitic hate group known as the Goyim Defense League (GDL).

During a video stream while watching a recording of the call, Jon Minadeo, the leader of the hate network, boasted: “Not bad… it might not sound the smoothest of AI, but it’s one of the first.

“We’ll keep perfecting it.”

Elsewhere, Sweden‘s Ministry for Foreign Affairs was forced to issue a statement about a viral clip of the country’s prime minister.

It said: “An inaccurate translation of a clip of Sweden’s Prime Minister is being spread on social media. Do not contribute to this.

“What he said is that Sweden and the EU stand firmly behind Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Deepfake videos have also been shared – including one of model Bella Hadid – who is publicly critical of Israel.

Footage appeared to show her retracting comments about Palestine and expressing support for Israel.

But, according to the Anti-Defamation League, the video was likely created using synthetic speech, which uses AI to mimic real voices.

In this case, a synthetic voice was mapped onto old footage of Bella at an event in 2016.

Ben Decker, CEO of Memetica, a company that monitors online hate, said there are “many layers of coordination” when it comes to the spread of propaganda.

Even by the fog of war standards that we are used to, this conflict is particularly messy

Hany FaridAI and disinformation expert

He told CNN: “We’ve seen a real concerning ideological convergence between far-right communities online and pro-Hamas sentiment.

“There are all of these layers of coordination.

“You have the fighters who are sharing the footage in near real-time with the social media operators.

“Then, you have that content being posted to Telegram.

“These 4chan communities are actually re-uploading the videos and archiving them so they can continue to share them online for years to come.”

There has been a 316 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents in the US since the October 7 massacre compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Anti-Defamation League.

While Microsoft and other AI platforms have rules in place to try to stop their technology from being weaponised, trolls have often worked out to get around it.

“The issue is those policies and mechanisms in place are really easy to game and circumvent,” Decker said.

“It’s exposed a real Achilles heel in the next wave of content moderation, particularly as it relates to image.”

Hany Farid, an expert in digital forensics, AI and misinformation, told the New York Times: “Even by the fog of war standards that we are used to, this conflict is particularly messy.

“The spectre of deepfakes is much, much more significant now.

“It doesn’t take tens of thousands, it just takes a few, and then you poison the well and everything becomes suspect.”


TikTok has already been blasted as a breeding ground for hate after a rant by Osama Bin Laden went viral and the app was accused of allowing rampant anti-Semitism.

The social media site faced urgent calls to tackle the alarming spread of vile content, especially in the wake of the war in Gaza.

Experts told The Sun the site needs to do more to tackle hateful content – and warned it is being used by “sinister actors” to stoke up division and hate.

And they warned of potentially dangerous real-world consequences if more action is not taken by TikTok.

Professor Anthony Glees, a security expert from the University of Buckingham, told The Sun: “Everybody knows that TikTok appeals especially to young minds.

“So it’s not only what’s going on right now, it’s planting those seeds in impressionable young [people].

“They grow into something in the years to come.”

The app has always insisted it works proactively in tackling hate speech, and in a statement told The Sun they are committed to “doing our part” to defeat antisemitism.

Social media, Glees says, is a major factor in the spread of antisemitism.

Dave Rich, head of policy at Community Security Trust, spoke to The Sun about his work in the charity’s efforts to monitor antisemitism online and offline.

He claimed that teenagers on the app are “seeing stuff to do with Jews or Israel, recommended by the algorithm, that’s anti-Semitic”, coming up on their For You page.

Baron Cohen was joined by comedian Amy Schumer and actress Debra Messing as they confronted TikTok execs about the spread of antisemitism.

A TikTok spokeswoman told The Sun: “We oppose anti-Semitism in all forms.

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise globally, and we’re committed to doing our part to fight it.

“We’ve taken important steps to protect our community and prevent the spread of hate, and we appreciate ongoing, honest dialogue and feedback as we continually work to strengthen these protections.”

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