Local 12: How to spot misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war

UC professor says outrage can be a tool of manipulation

Misinformation about the war between Israel and Hamas is abundant online, but there are ways to avoid falling for fake news, a University of Cincinnati professor told Local 12.

Many people have turned to social media for real-time updates about the conflict in Israel and Palestine. However, people should maintain some skepticism about what they're seeing online, said Jeffrey Blevins, PhD, a professor in UC's Department of Journalism and School of Public and International Affairs.

“If you see something and you are outraged by it, instead of just leaning into that outrage, you should be skeptical,” Blevins said. “Is someone trying to persuade me, manipulate me, to believe something that is not necessarily true?”

To avoid falling for misinformation, look to accredited news institutions for accurate information. Big news and horrific stories likely will be reported on by multiple outlets, so be wary of stories from a single source. Reverse image searches also can help determine if photos are legitimate.

Also, be wary of information that purports to come from a legitimate news organization but in reality is disinformation.

“So one of these videos for instance, it looks like it comes from BBC, which of course is reputable news outlet,” Blevins said. “But essentially they just took BBC’s logo and put it on this video which falsely suggests, I mean it looks like a news report, but it is suggesting that Ukraine had provided the weaponry to Hamas to help pull off this attack in Israel.”

See more from Local 12.

Featured image at top: Jeffrey Blevins, PhD, professor in UC's Department of Journalism and School of Public and International Affairs. Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

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