As the crisis unfolds in Israel, numerous media outlets have reported that Hamas threatened to post disturbing videos on social media over the weekend showing hostages being executed.
While the validity of these threats is being confirmed, school officials in the U.S. and Israel have sent emails urging parents to closely monitor or remove social media apps — specifically targeting TikTok — from their children’s devices in response to these reports.
CNN reported that Hamas warned that it will post “murders of hostages on social media if Israel targets people in Gaza without warning.” They also said that a Tel Aviv school’s parent’s association said it expects videos of hostages “begging for their lives” to surface on social media.
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According to CNBC, the principal of The Frisch School in Paramus, New Jersey, is among those who sent an email to parents urging them to tell their kids to delete Instagram and TikTok “immediately” because of similar threats.
Forbes quoted one message from a school official that states, “Dear Parents: We have been notified that soon there will be videos sent of the hostages begging for their lives. Please delete TikTok from your children’s phones. We cannot allow our children to see them.”
Social media companies ‘MUST take action’
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has called on social media platforms such as X and Facebook and others to monitor and quickly remove offensive videos related to the Israeli-Hamas war.
Scott noted his Oct. 10 statement, “Social media companies MUST take action. TikTok, Instagram (Meta), X and every other social media platform have an obligation to stop these terrorists from distributing posts containing violence and murder and collecting financial support for their terror operations.”
There are also concerns that Hamas will use algorithms to target specific audiences that are especially vulnerable.
ABC News reported, that the hashtag #Israel has more than 25 billion views on TikTok and more than 18 million posts on Instagram.