IDF launches new campaign targeting rumors of casualties on social media

The IDF Spokesman launched a new campaign on Tuesday targeting the spreading of false rumors and unauthorized information on social media, with a focus on claims relating to military casualties.

The campaign, called ‘Don’t let rumors knock on the door,’ is aimed at “explaining and illustrating to the public in Israel the severity of the issue, and the deep scars that rumors leave on families [of those affected],” the military said. “The campaign war born following a phenomenon that stood out particularly during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, during which rumors on wounded and killed [soldiers] made many families fearful and anxious,” the IDF Spokesman Unit added.

False rumors claimed that soldiers who were healthy and well had been killed, and in other cases, families who did lose loved ones heard about it via social media before official IDF officers arrived to break the news.

The campaign includes a film that tells the story of the Amni family, whose son, Hezi, fought in Gaza in 2014, and which wrongly heard that he had fallen in battle on social media. “The sense of pain, fear that paralyzed them, and uncertainty are ingrained in their memory until this day,” the IDF said.

“The IDF Casualty and Wounded Department is the authorized department to accompany families of the injured and of casualties, in a professional and sensitive manner throughout the entire process,” the military said.

The head of the Department, Brig.-Gen. Eli Lotan, added that the campaign is “of utmost importance. The phenomenon of passing on rumors can harm any one of us, and should worry all of us. The campaign has begun today, and you will be able to hear it on the radio and see it on social media. The message of the campaign is clear. As people and a society, we must not allow irresponsible rumors to knock on the door of any family in Israel.”