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Conflict in Gaza Makes a Mark on Social Media



For VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.

The war in the Gaza Strip is being fought as much on the Internet as it is on the ground. Some people say the increased use of social media is changing the way people look at the conflict. Palestinian activists recently put a video on the YouTube website. The video shows rescue workers trying to help a Palestinian boy look for his family. Suddenly, the boy is seen lying on the ground. The video claims he was shot by Israeli gunmen. A second bullet appears to kill him. The video was shared on social media. Palestinians and Israelis have fought before. But, now Palestinians are telling their war stories directly to the world through social media. Lisa Goldman is with the New America Foundation, a non-profit group. She says Israelis have used Twitter for a long time. She says Palestinians on Twitter is a much more recent event.

Yousef Munayyer heads the Jerusalem Fund, a pro-Palestinian group. He says that earlier news reports about the Middle East were generally pro-Israel. But he says active social media work by Palestinians is changing how traditional media report the news. The Israeli government understands the power of this new technology. Jed Shein is the social media director at Israel's embassy in Washington. He warns against thinking that social media truly show how the public feels about issues. There is little scientific evidence to prove how effective social media is in reporting about the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Lisa Goldman says it is important to have news media professionals report from conflict areas.