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BOOM Research

Monthly Disinfo Tracker: November's False Claims Centered Around Israel-Gaza War, Assembly Elections in MP, Rajasthan

Of the 76 fact-checks published in November, majority of the claims were political in nature.

By - Nidhi Jacob | 14 Dec 2023 11:30 AM GMT

Of all the fact-checks published by BOOM in November 2023, the Israel-Gaza War, the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and the 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup were the predominant subjects of misinformation and disinformation, constituting 31.6%, 21.05%, and 10.53%, respectively. 

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Out of the 76 fact-checks published in English, Hindi, and Bangla, 41% of the claims pertained to 'Political' matters, while 33% were related to International events, predominantly focusing on the Israel-Gaza war, followed by claims categorised under 'Sports.' 

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Claims of a political nature primarily involved misinformation about the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which were held in November, whereas claims related to sports mainly centered around misinformation regarding the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.

Theme Assessment 

2023 Assembly elections 

Between November 7 and 30, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram held Assembly elections, shaping the landscape for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Of the 76 fact-checks published by BOOM, 21% of the misinformation was linked to Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, followed by elections in Rajasthan (7.8%) and Telangana (1.3%).

BOOM observed that Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh were the top targets of mis and disinformation during the 2023 Assembly election. 87% of false claims were peddled via videos, followed by texts (8.7%) and images (4.3%). 52.2% of the claims were riddled with negative sentiments. 

More than 50% of the false information was disseminated with the aim of promoting fake sensationalist content, while 43.5% of the claims involved smear campaigns targeting political leaders.

For instance, there is an old video featuring Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressing Hindu saints via video conferencing, urging them to support the BJP in their campaigns. In this manipulated video, the voice of a Hindu saint has been altered with fake audio, expressing a refusal to Chouhan's appeal and predicting that the party will not secure more than 60 seats in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.


BOOM found that the viral video was from COVID lockdown in 2020 where Chouhan addressed several sections of the society on ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another example of a smear campaign is when a cropped video of Rahul Gandhi was shared on social media, falsely claiming that he made a derogatory remark by questioning the identity of 'Bharat Mata' or mother India. However, BOOM found out that in the original speech, Gandhi answered his own question by explaining that the term 'Bharat Mata' signifies the people of India.



 Israel-Gaza War

It has been more than two months since the Israel-Gaza was began. On October 7, Hamas, an Islamic militant group, governing the occupied Gaza strip, launched a surprise attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians as part of their ‘Al-Aqsa Storm’ operation, killing more than 1,400 people. The militant group then infiltrated border communities and took more than 200 civilians and soldiers hostage. In retaliation, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "demolish” Hamas. Since October 7, Israeli authorities have initiated numerous airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in the death of 18,000 individuals, including a minimum of 7,700 children, during this timeframe. 

According to BOOM' analysis, misinformation predominantly targeted Palestinians.

For example, a video of a woman grieving beside two bodies covered in white sheets was shared by official Israel X (formerly Twitter) accounts, falsely asserting that the scene was staged. The video has gone viral claiming that Palestinians were caught pretending to be killed in the ongoing war.

However, BOOM found that the footage in the viral video was genuine which showed a woman mourning beside a body kept outside a hospital in Gaza.

BOOM has published more than a dozen fact-checks documenting untrue, manipulated, and fabricated claims concerning "Palestinians faking deaths".


2023 ICC Men's World Cup

Sports-related claims accounted for 10.5% of the fact-checks. 

An old video of Indian Men's One Day International (ODI) cricket captain Rohit Sharma's four-year-old daughter Samaira commenting that he will laugh again after he had tested positive for COVID-19 in June 2022 was falsely shared on social media as a recent video of her talking of her dad after India's loss in the final of the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 against Australia.

BOOM found that the viral video was from 2022 and was not a recent video after India's loss in 2023 Cricket World Cup. 


Who were the top targets of false claims?

Of the 76 fact-checks, Palestinians (10.5%) were the top targets, followed by Muslims (9.2%) and Hamas (6.6%). 

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Medium of deception

71% of false claims were shared via videos, followed by Images (20%), Text (8%) and Audio (1.3%). Videos were utilised to propagate 33% of political claims, 25% of claims associated with international events, and 6.58% of communal claims.

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Moreover, BOOM's analysis indicates that 50% of these videos were shared with the aim of disseminating 'Fake Sensationalism,' (defined by presenting information to incite or excite individuals and evoke emotional responses) Subsequently, there were instances of misinformation being circulated to fuel smear campaigns (14.4%) and promote Islamophobic content (6.5%).

Over 43% of the videos peddled inaccurate content, either by presenting information without proper context, providing false context, or misattributing information.