The snapshot splashed across social media purported to show body bags holding children in Gaza killed by the Israeli army.
But it was a fake: Artificial intelligence found that the image was lifted from a video of a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Boston that used the body bags as props.
Another widely published photo claimed to show IDF forces firing inside Shifa Hospital in Gaza. In actuality, the image was from a video of an August 2013 attack by Egyptian security forces against protestors inside a Cairo hospital.
A picture supposedly showing Israeli military officers being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip turned out be a photo of military officers arrested in Turkey in 2016.
And a picture that claimed to show a wounded civilian in a Gaza hospital was found to be lifted from a TV show in Malaysia.
Examples of deceptive content, engineered to manipulate public opinion against Israel, are endless.
Among the “soldiers” volunteering their time to fight this fake digital war are data scientists from Eternity, a 15-year-old data consulting and project company within the Petah Tikva-based Aman Group.
Eternity uses technologies including AI to provide business intelligence, analytics and data services to hundreds of high-profile clients in retail, health, finance and the public sector, including El Al Israel Airlines, Tnuva, Zim Lines, Bank Leumi, Strauss and the Ministry of Justice.
This photo of body bags isn’t really from Gaza; it’s from a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Boston. Photo courtesy of Eternity
“Usually, when there isn’t a war, we develop data products and platforms for clients,” says CTO Ariel Oz.
“Now, our engineers are using every free moment they have to try to help in this online war.”
The tools they use — AI algorithms, data analysis, bots — are part of their everyday job. In this case, they’re applying them to identify dangerously misleading, erroneous and fake content about Israel’s war with Hamas, and to report and remove it.
“We can catch [potentially] viral content before it goes viral,” says Oz. “Many people, including professors, are posting ‘facts’ and give the impression that they know what they are talking about. Using AI, it’s pretty easy for us to see if it’s true or not.”
In addition, Eternity data experts are countering inaccurate information with accurate information and creating content “that we believe can change some minds on social networks,” says Oz.
Their efforts cover four categories:
- Identifying and flagging fake or unreliable information through analysis of images, videos and texts;
- Identifying potentially viral fake or misleading content, and using organic and peripheral reporting systems to get it removed before it goes viral;
- Using AI to create accurate written and visual materials in many languages ​​for distribution by influencers;
- Automatically adapting messages according to the current security situation and its momentum on social networks.
None of this volunteer work is being undertaken on behalf of a particular client. It’s simply what the employees feel they need to do “because we care,” Oz tells ISRAEL21c.
“The most important thing to us is that we see social networks are loaded with incorrect information and we’re afraid it will stay there. When my kids see it in a few years, they will not understand if it’s real or fake news. So we try to clean it up right now.”
Produced in association with ISRAEL21c