Fake News Training by Hezbollah

Recognising the power of social media and the Internet, many organisations are interested in running large-scale campaigns to influence public opinion and Hezbollah would seem to be numbered among them.

Symbol of the Internet

The Telegraph recently published an article exposing the activities inside Hezbollah`s training camps that are helping to promote instability in the Middle East. The Iranian-backed terror group is said to be training armies of activists to use fake news as a means of destroying Iraq.

Reports say that Hezbollah has been flying recruits from around the Middle East to Beirut, the city that suffered the huge explosion on Tuesday. There they are trained in methods of manipulating digital photographs, managing large numbers of social media accounts, avoiding Facebook censorship and spreading false information online.

When they return to their own countries, these recruits are meant to train their own networks of activists in the skills they have acquired in Lebanon.

Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iraqi paramilitary group, is said to have accessed this training and used it to run large social media campaigns in Iraq. Analysts say that false stories and posts that incite violence have played a significant role in destabilising Iraq in recent years,

One prominent example is the murder of a respected Iraqi security expert, Hisham Al-Hashimi. He was subjected to a prolonged online smear campaign accusing him of ordering the assassination of Shia Muslims.

Dr Renad Mansour, one of his friends, says that just hours before he was gunned down, Hisham had joked with him over WhatsApp about the latest media posts that portrayed him as the stooge of Iraq’s new prime minister.

Hisham implored his friend to join him in writing about these false messages, because the situation in Iraq was not good. But time had run out for him.

These reports give further insights into the tactics of Israel’s enemies and, indeed, the enemies of all who value truth. The social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would seem to have an impossible task on their hands trying to combat what is effectively a form of cyber warfare.