Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Israel-Hamas war has created controversy on social media, with lawmakers and users accusing platforms like TikTok and Facebook of promoting biased posts.

Tech giants have denied the accusations. TikTok, accused of promoting pro-Palestinian content, attributed it to “unsound analysis” of hashtag data. Some Instagram and Facebook users circulated a petition accusing Meta, the company that owns both platforms, of censoring pro-Palestinian posts due to a technical bug.

Antisemitic content has also been an issue on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter and run by Elon Musk. X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, condemned antisemitism in a post.

Academic researchers and advocacy groups have found it difficult to discern the truth behind the flood of content related to the Israel-Hamas war due to roadblocks in conducting independent analysis of the major online services.

Inflammatory content has been a focus at social media platforms, with concerns raised about the handling of antisemitism and harassment.

Researchers noted a surge of interest in Osama bin Laden’s decades-old “Letter to America” but found it challenging to conduct more sophisticated analysis due to limitations in their search methods.

TikTok has been at the center of the controversy, with accusations of bias and promotion of pro-Palestinian content. The company has issued statements denying these accusations and pushing back on data about popular hashtags.

Data access through platforms’ application programming interface (A.P.I) has faced challenges, with major tech companies offering limited access, shrinking eligibility, and unreliable and delayed data.

Researchers have expressed the need for access to data in order to conduct informed research on the impact of platforms on society.

Progress in independent analysis and understanding the impact of online content has been hindered by limited access to data, leading to concerns about biased narratives and misinformation.

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