By McKenzie Sadeghi | Published on Oct. 26, 2023
TikTok, Facebook, and X are rife with violent, graphic propaganda videos celebrating al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, despite efforts from Big Tech companies to crack down on such content, a NewsGuard analysis found.
Since Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU — launched its attack against Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, the group has largely advanced its messaging via first-person graphic videos on Telegram, including body cam-style footage of dead corpses lying in a raided building, a soldier in a pool of blood, and Israeli soldiers being dragged across the street. These videos have been migrating from Telegram and are now rapidly spreading on TikTok, Meta’s platforms, and X (formerly Twitter) — despite the stated policies of those platforms to bar such content.
For example, Meta said in an Oct. 13, 2023, statement that “Hamas is banned from our platforms, and we remove praise and substantive support of them when we become aware of it.” X’s “Violent and Hateful Entities” policy says that users cannot “affiliate with or promote the activities of violent and hateful entities.” TikTok, owned and operated by Chinese conglomerate ByteDance, said in an Oct. 14, 2023, statement that it has “a zero-tolerance policy for content praising violent and hateful organizations and individuals,” which includes Hamas, a spokesperson told NewsGuard.
Nevertheless, NewsGuard identified a total of 337 posts on TikTok, Facebook, and X containing graphic and violent footage from the al-Qassam Brigades that generated 3.61 million views combined from Oct. 7 to Oct. 20, 2023. All of the posts identified by NewsGuard were supportive of Hamas and consisted of branded videos originally posted to the group’s official Telegram bearing Hamas iconography. None of them carried a disclaimer alerting users that the video contained violent scenes.