Well, it’s not that.
This is actually footage of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist arrested in 2017 by Israel.
This type of faux coverage isn’t new. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, similar footage out of Palestine, Libya, and other areas of the Middle East has been falsely linked to the conflict in Europe.
It goes by all sorts of names: hoaxes, rumors, “fake news.”
Lately, you might have seen the terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” popping up more often.
These are not terms meant to describe anything you see online that you don’t immediately understand.
But as they’ve become more popular, people have started to throw them around willy-nilly, or use them interchangeably.
The City University of New York defines misinformation as “the sharing of inaccurate and misleading information in an unintentional way.”
The TikTok calling Tamimi a Ukranian girl is misinformation — at least on the end of most people who reshared it. Presumably, they didn’t know the caption was false, so they unintentionally shared bad information.
Saying that isn’t meant to freak you out. As Joan Donovan, the research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, tweeted, “There is no communication without misinformation.”
But, Donovan continued, “some lies are profitable and beneficial to a small group pushing them.” That’s where misinformation becomes an issue.
CUNY defines disinformation as “the deliberate dissemination of false or inaccurate information.”
It can be done for several reasons, like to discredit people and organizations, suppress voters, or for financial gain.
Some say satire sites like The Onion are also, technically, disinformation. Others disagree because its content isn’t supposed to be read as true.
But the U.S. has used disinformation to target oppressed communities, too. It’s a common tactic against social movements.
Under the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), the FBI published fake stories to sow distrust in people and organizations.
Disinformation is only perceived as bad when it serves to disrupt the interests of whiteness and white power ... [and] misinformation against non-whites is typically a footnote in history texts and media reports as it serves the telos of American democracy.
How do you spot bad information? There are a few ways.
Take a hard look at your sources and their biases. We all have them — even me! Ask yourself how someone’s biases shape the stories they tell.
Consider who funds or owns the content you consume, too. Because Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, for example, it’s not my go-to for hard reporting on Amazon.
Before you share any photos or video, fact-check them. This can be as easy as doing a reverse image search on a picture.
You should also ask yourself a few questions like: Who first posted this? Can I trust them? Does the date correspond with claims people are making?
Most people take that as not relying on your timeline to tell you the news.
That’s part of it. But you also shouldn’t solely read mainstream media outlets like CNN or CNBC.