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The IDF and Hamas wage a social media war: here's what you need to know

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The conflict between Israel and Hamas has been raging in the Gaza Strip for years, but both sides have recently taken to social media to spread their points of view. The Israel Defense Forces Twitter account, @IDFspokesperson, began liveblogging military operations and posting notices of successful assassinations, and the faction also has accounts on Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. The IDF isn't the only one making use of these new platforms to appeal for garner popular opinion — Hamas has similarly taken to Twitter to respond to the IDF's challenges. In contrast to Israel's aggressive use of social media, Israel's military is asking its citizens to refrain from geotagging posts for fear of providing Hamas with additional intelligence. We'll keep you updated on the latest in this unique social media war right here.

6 updates and 1187 comments below.

Nov 24 5:31p

Congress members ask FBI to shut down Hamas Twitter account

Seven House Republicans have called for Twitter to take down the accounts of "US-designated terrorist groups." Led by Texas Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), the lawmakers sent the request in a letter to the FBI back in September, and earlier this week said that recent events have vindicated their actions. "Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy," Poe told The Hill, adding that Twitter "arms them with the ability to freely spread their...

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Nov 19 10:24a

Israeli MSN and Bing sites defaced by Pakistani hackers (update)

Shortly after Anonymous declared war on the Israeli internet, a separate group of apparently Pakistani hackers has defaced at least two Microsoft-run websites. Visiting the Israeli versions of MSN and Bing brings up an anti-Israel diatribe "on the behalf of all Pakistani and all Muslims," promising that "your war on Gaza will make you cry blood." The Israeli Skype website, meanwhile, is unavailable. Though the ideological justification is similar, this doesn't appear to be related to...

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Nov 17 5:59p

Anonymous takes sides in Gaza conflict, launches offensive against Israeli websites

Hacker group Anonymous is claiming to have successfully knocked offline and in some cases erased a number of prominent Israeli websites. The comprehensive attack, dubbed operation "OpIsrael," comes in direct retaliation to threats from Israel's government that it may shutter internet access to and from Gaza as violence between its Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Hamas continues to escalate. "For far too long, Anonymous has stood by with the rest of the world and watched in despair the...

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Nov 16 9:54p

Twitter can help 'convey a message of deterrence,' says Israel's IDFSpokesperson

Israel and Hamas are fighting a war on a new front. This week, they took to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media to report live on real-world attacks in Gaza... or, depending on who you ask, to spread propaganda. Now, the brains behind @IDFSpokesperson have been revealed.

According to the Associated Press, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich is the woman in charge of the Israeli Defense Forces' brand-new "Interactive Media" branch, a collection of 30 soldiers trained to craft the blog...

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1:45p

Israel's military warns citizens against posting tweets, Instagram photos of Hamas strike zones

The people of Israel are sadly not unfamiliar with violence. Like their government, these days many have sought to establish a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites to share their account of all that's happening around them. But Israel's military is asking citizens to cut back on their journalistic efforts for fear that geolocation data publicly accessible across these services is aiding Hamas plot out future targets. Per Fast Company, the theory is that realtime...

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Nov 15 1:09p

Propaganda 2.0: why Israel and Hamas are fighting a war with rockets and tweets

As I write this, I notice Hamas' claim that it has shelled "occupied" Tel Aviv. I hear this not from cable news or The New York Times, or from RT America, the Russian government backed twenty-four hour news network that I have streaming on the Roku across the room. Nor do I learn it from CNN, where Anderson Cooper is busting Sen. McCain’s balls for contesting Hillary Clinton’s possible replacement. No, I learn this from Twitter, which isn’t really worth giving much thought to — until you...

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Nov 14 12:57p

Realtime war: Israeli military liveblogs, tweets attack on Hamas

Liveblogging. It's one of those tortured-English words that conjures up images of awards shows, Apple launch events, and Justin Bieber. Whenever something like this is added to the dictionary (kind of how "sexting" was, a couple months back) it's a little amusing — seeing a slice of our somewhat-frivolous, hyper-connected world given some legitimacy by the "old guard," as it were.

What is not amusing, however, is watching the Israel Defense Forces liveblog its current operation in Gaza. (And...

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