October 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Network Spreads Dangerous Disinformation

October 13, 2023 | Flash Brief

Hamas Network Spreads Dangerous Disinformation

Latest Developments

The social threat intelligence company Cyabra said Hamas and its supporters are successfully spreading propaganda and disinformation online, The Jerusalem Post reported on October 12. The content is reaching as many as 500 million people on X (formerly Twitter), according to the company. With social media awash with fake videos and disinformation simultaneously glorifying and downplaying Hamas’ brutality, Rafi Mendelsohn, Cyabra’s vice president of marketing, concluded that Hamas and its supporters are demonstrating “a level of coordination [online] that goes beyond that of a terrorist group — it’s more akin to a state level of organization.”

Expert Analysis

“Hamas is facing an unmitigated public relations disaster. The terrorist group is trying to present its gunmen as principled by broadcasting clips of them releasing female and child hostages or even denying that they attacked civilians. Meanwhile, Hamas’ supporters have tried to downplay the group’s atrocities by claiming that Hamas only murdered children but didn’t behead them. None of this can erase the horrific images and videos of murdered Israelis, but Hamas and its supporters are trying.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

“Hamas fully comprehends that information is a weapon and will continue to batter Israel in the information space. With only a small investment, Hamas can pollute the information space with conflicting narratives, spreading disinformation and misinformation. Hamas will not only use bots and trolls. It will also use a network of social media influencers and may even integrate artificial intelligence into its information war strategies.” — Ivana Stradner, FDD Research Fellow

Hamas Shares Violent Videos While Its Supporters Blame Israel

Hamas has been posting gruesome videos on Telegram, X, and other social media sites and warning that it will broadcast the beheadings of hostages. Many of these posts aim to further terrorize Israelis. Yet Hamas supporters online claim that the terrorist organization is compassionate and that its actions are justified. In a separate development, researchers with the social media analysis firm Alethea released evidence of a coordinated influence campaign spreading fake videos claiming that Russia will intervene if the United States supports Israel, NBC News reported on October 10.

Disinformation Has Long Been a Key Tool for Hamas

Propaganda and disinformation have long been central to Hamas’ strategy in its campaigns against Israel. A senior Hamas official bragged to Russian television that the terrorist organization was able to launch its surprise attack because it successfully tricked Israeli intelligence into thinking it “was busy with governing Gaza.”

In 2017, Hamas released a new policy document disguising its calls for the destruction of Israel as a “struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine.” The publication’s gentler language as compared to its original 1988 “covenant,” which called for the murder of all Jews, successfully convinced many Western observers that the group had become more moderate. As information and psychological operations have become critical components to modern warfare, Hamas is likely to continue its disinformation campaigns.

Israeli Death Toll from Gaza Onslaught Hits 1,200,” FDD Flash Brief

Social Media: An Important Tool Used By Palestinian Militant Groups,” by Joe Truzman

Hold Hamas Accountable for Human-Shields Use During the May 2021 Gaza War,” by Orde Kittrie


Disinformation Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Jihadism Palestinian Politics