ISRAEL AT WARWords of Iron: Combating propaganda and documenting the brutality of Hamas’ crimes
ISRAEL AT WAR
Words of Iron: Combating propaganda and documenting the brutality of Hamas’ crimes
Software engineer Shaked Lokits launched an initiative called ‘Words of Iron’ to collect evidence of Hamas' crimes and counter misinformation
We’ve now entered the sixth day of Israel’s war with Hamas, following a surprise attack on Saturday morning that has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 Israelis, mainly civilians. As the days have passed, more information has been gained, including the horrific nature of the massacres. Scenes of this brutality, including the annihilation of entire families and communities, the murder of women and children, houses burnt to the ground with families still alive inside, the discovery of bodies of decapitated infants, and reports of mass rape have shocked Israel and the world.
Despite the fact that images and videos of the slaughter were first disseminated by Hamas terrorists themselves (eager for the world to see what they consider to be their proudest achievement), propaganda by Hamas and their supporters is already circulating, claiming that Israel is lying about the extent of the carnage.
In an effort to combat the spread of this false information, one of the most imperative projects that has emerged is Words of Iron. Shaked Lokits, a software engineer in Tel Aviv, established Words of Iron within the first two days of the conflict. The goals of the project are two-pronged: the documentation and collection of data pertaining to the crimes committed by Hamas, and the organization, distribution and moderation of content for individuals, organizations and others to use in the dissemination of this information.
Lokits, who prior to working as a software engineer had a background in advertisement, immediately noticed “a huge vacuum” of high-quality content on social media. He soon got to work connecting and brainstorming with contacts both within the tech community, creatives, as well as within government. The project includes roughly 500 volunteers working on either documenting and collecting data, moderating and verifying information, and producing content briefs.
“In a couple of weeks we are going to be sued by the international court, and these materials will disappear from the internet, so it's a crucial national task to collect these materials,” says Lokits, regarding the videos and images published by Hamas and their operatives. Essentially, they are working to collect evidence of Hamas’ crimes in anticipation of attempts to deny them.
A team of moderators verifies and pores over all of the data and determines what is more relevant for documentation purposes and what is appropriate for content dissemination.
“Right now what we’re doing is handling the first week’s response, but we are trying to look at this more strategically and less tactically,” says Lokits.
“We need to build systems that will enable our governmental bodies to move forward after these initial weeks have passed. We needed a content system for all of these materials,” says Lokits. Volunteers can receive briefs as new information comes in and disseminate the content as they like.
“At first we thought about just creating an inventory for all of the data, but the response that we got was that it will no longer be relevant in a week, as things are constantly changing.”
Lokits says that the nature of the project is so massive that they are still looking for more volunteers, including data collectors, content moderators and content creators.
Words of Iron is one of several projects in a joint initiative between the National Information Directorate, the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, other government offices and tech companies called ‘IsraelTechGuards.’ The initiative includes over 500 people, most of whom are programmers, product experts, and individuals with experience in building advanced systems in the Israeli tech sector.
You can find a link to the Words of Iron recruitment form here in Hebrew. It is available in English on the application.