October 25, 2023 | Euronews

China, Russia and Iran are exploiting the Israel-Hamas conflict for their benefit

A recent ISD investigation reveals that China, Russia, and Iran are taking advantage of the information chaos surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict to further their geopolitical agendas. Hundreds of accounts linked to officials, diplomatic representatives and media outlets from these countries (294 Iranian, 623 Russian and 369 Chinese) are using various tactics, such as glorifying violence, promoting hate and spreading false claims online, when speaking on the conflict in the region.

Euronews covered our findings and spoke with ISD senior Analyst Julia Smirnova: “It may not come as a surprise that authoritarian states are trying to exploit the confusion around the Israel-Hamas conflict to advance their own geopolitical agenda. But we – and especially social media platforms – shouldn’t overlook the harms of this rhetoric in exacerbating polarisation and deepening mistrust towards democratic institutions and the media.”

Specifically, the Iranian state-affiliated accounts were found to be praising the 7 Oct Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, accusing the US of causing Palestinian suffering, and even glorifying war crimes against Israeli civilians. Russian state-affiliated accounts have used the conflict to push an anti-Western and anti-Ukrainian narrative, in line with Moscow’s long-standing agenda. They have also contributed to spreading false information, including claims that Ukraine supplied weapons to Hamas. Chinese state-affiliated accounts seemed to adapt their approach depending on the platform used. On Facebook posts remained neutral and condemned harm to civilians, while X posts by Chinese state media accounts criticised the US for allegedly seeking economic advantage from the escalation, and accused Western politicians and mainstream media of ignoring the victims in Gaza.

Our report, available now on our website, highlights how these countries are exploiting the ongoing information chaos to advance their interests, while promoting more polarised worldviews and undermining trust in democratic institutions and the media.