In a terrifying development, Hamas has hijacked the social media profiles of kidnapped Israelis to spread hostile messages, propagate psychological warfare, and transmit menacing threats. This strategy has been used in at least four other occasions, beginning October 7, when members of Hamas gained control over their prisoners’ Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp accounts. The utilization of social media in conflicts is not a novel concept. Still, the audacity of these attacks underpins growing concerns about the safety and well-being of captured individuals and their exposed families.
To combat the malicious activities of Hamas, Israeli authorities are partnering with social media platforms to identify and remove such harmful content quickly. Simultaneously, Israeli officials support those affected by the distressing cyber attacks, including family members and friends who have fallen victim to Hamas’s online infiltration.
Israeli families targeted by Hamas’ cyber attacks
Thirteen Israeli families spoke to investigators, sharing their experiences in dealing with the recent cyber invasion. According to their accounts, members of Hamas infiltrated their imprisoned relatives’ Facebook groups, Instagram pages, and WhatsApp conversations, inciting violence and issuing menacing calls through the hostages’ mobile phones. The unprecedented cyber tactics employed by the terrorist organization sowed chaos among the victims and their families, intensifying feelings of vulnerability and despair.
Friends and family members of the abducted individuals describe their initial anticipation of receiving updates about their loved ones, only to then feel overpowered by the realization that terrorists have seized their personal social media accounts. The duplicitous tactic of Hamas compounds the pain, anguish, and uncertainty of these unfortunate family members who find themselves trapped in an emotional bind.
In addition to causing psychological stress, the unauthorized access to victims’ social media accounts raises crucial questions about privacy and security regarding the safety of their personal information.
While Hamas representatives have yet to acknowledge or comment on the situation, their silence could merely indicate their cautious approach to the controversy. Monitoring the political situation in the region remains vital, as any response from Hamas could have far-reaching consequences for the already fragile political climate.
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