Trolls and clout chasers and Ignorant people flood social media with clips from a military video game, passing them off as footage of the conflict unfolding in Gaza. The fake videos come as misinformation about the conflict floods X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Following Saturday’s large-scale attack by Hamas militants on Israeli targets, including killing civilians and taking them hostage, social media has been flooded with misleading footage purporting to show the military escalation of the conflict – including a large number of clips. From Irma 3a highly realistic open-world combat video game that allows users to customize gaming scenarios.
One clip, which depicts a helicopter being shot down by shoulder-fired missiles, received more than 2.5 million impressions. On X. The user’s comment read: “New video: Hamas fighters shoot down an Israeli military helicopter in Gaza.” last Irma clip 3 Filming of downed helicopters received more than 8.5 million impressions. Both posts received community feedback tags explaining their source, but were not removed from the website.
two Irma 3 PinsBoth were posted with more than 3 million views on TikTok by an account that frequently posts clips from the game in a sneaky way. One video, which depicted a group of fighter jets flying amid a set of air raid sirens and exploding munitions, was captioned: “BREAKING: Major Israeli attack underway in response to Hamas attacks.” A disclaimer that the video was “filmed using a digital combat simulator” was placed at the bottom of the description — which is not visible unless the user selects an option to post it — below the caption and a series of more than 20 hashtags.
The TikTok post was later shared Posted on X Written by Britain First leader Paul Golding, who subsequently deleted the post after being told it was fake. Although he was cheated once, Goodling Posted a second video From the movie “Arma 3” with the caption “Israel significantly intensifies its retaliatory operations.” The clip has racked up more than 260,000 impressions since Sunday, and was not flagged by community notice.
Since its release in 2013, Arma 3 has become a source of troll accounts trying to pass off high-resolution snippets of gameplay or cut scenes as combat footage from a real-world conflict. In October last year, videos of Arma 3 were filmed Surface-to-air combat, Launching missilesAnd Drone attacks It was falsely depicted on social media as combat footage from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In 2018, Russian state media got it wrong Broadcast footage From the game, claiming that it shows a Russian attack on a Syrian military convoy. In August last year, a post containing Arma 3 content was published He claimed to be photographing Attack by the Chinese army on Taiwan.
Bohemia Interactive, the Czech indie game developer that produced Arma 3, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone. In November last year, the company directed Misuse of its content in a blog post.
“Arma 3 is more than just a military simulation game, it is a unique open platformer,” wrote Pavel Kryzka, Bohemia’s PR director. “This means that Arma 3 players can recreate and simulate any historical, current or future conflict in great detail. …This unique freedom of the Arma 3 platform has a downside: videos taken from Arma 3, especially when the game is modified, are quite capable of Spreading fake news.
“We have been trying to fight such content by tagging these videos on [social media] “Platform providers…but it’s completely ineffective,” Krzyska added. “We have found that the best way to address this is to actively collaborate with leading media outlets and fact-checkers (such as AFP, Reuters and others), who have better access and capacity to effectively combat the spread of fake news footage.”
The spread of fake images from the Gaza conflict, along with other inauthentic content, is straining X’s already weak moderation system, allowing misinformation to spread, according to some experts at its former company, Twitter.
When reached for comment, X responded that they were “busy right now” and “want to check back later.”
“It’s not like the old days. “The level of misinformation is staggering,” says one former Twitter employee familiar with the platform’s previous moderation process. “There are no controls in place to counter misinformation, and no policy or enforcement path against it.”
Experts say a range of changes at X have turned the platform into a breeding ground for misinformation about the conflict.
“This is really because the way Twitter rewards its super users for sharing content has changed dramatically with the changes Elon Musk has made to Twitter. Before, Twitter was handing out verification,” says Elliott Huggins, founder of the open-source investigative site Bellingcat. To news organizations and individuals with a proven track record of producing reliable information, as well as important public figures.”
“Now, with Musk’s changes, anyone can get a blue tick, which provides multiple benefits in terms of how visible their posts are, but with those blue ticks being completely meaningless in terms of the value of the information being shared,” he adds. “In fact, I would go so far as to say that a blue tick at this point is generally an indicator of low-value information.”
Under its previous ownership, Twitter often erred on the side of caution during international conflicts. During the 2021 war in the Ethiopian Tigray region, which witnessed the killing of thousands of civilians, Stopped ads In the region, moderation efforts have been intensified.
But after Musk’s acquisition, Twitter debuted a new ad revenue sharing program that allows some high-profile accounts to monetize their content. While the platform has long been a target of influence-hunting and ideologically motivated misinformation, the revenue-sharing program has unleashed a new class of accounts with no verifiable information and a high level of excitement in search of revenue-generating clicks.
Over the weekend, X’s owner, Elon Musk, promoted two accounts, “WarMonitors” and “sentdefender,” with long records of posting fake “news” and, in the case of WarMonitors, anti-Semitic content before deleting the post referencing them.
“A lot of these accounts don’t make any effort to fact-check sources, so they’re more likely to spread misinformation, and because many of them buy blue ticks, they get an extra boost from Musk’s new Twitter,” Higgins says. “The accounts that Musk promoted really fall into this category, and I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two accounts that Musk recommended were registered with Twitter’s subscription service.”
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