REPORT: New Viral Slogan Targeting Israel’s Campaign In Rafah Is AI-Generated

(Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is responsible for a new viral slogan targeting Israel’s military campaign in Rafah, according to multiple reports.

“All eyes on Rafah,” the image indicates, with rows of tents used to spell out the words amid what appeared to be millions of other tents stretching up to vanishing point against a mountainous horizon. It went viral on Instagram, where over 40 million users have shared it, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The image, however, appears to be AI-generated as the landscape and the array of the tents in the image did not match the reality of the tents for internally displaced Gazans on the ground, according to the Washington Post.

Communication researcher Felix M. Simon told the Washington Post he was certain that the image “was generated with the help of AI.” The image bore “various visual hallmarks that are typical for AI systems — especially a certain blurriness,” he reportedly added.

No other such image was available anywhere else, despite the size of the camp portrayed in the image and the international focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Simon reportedly added.

The symmetry and unrealistic sprawl of the tent camp in the image were redolent of AI’s signal pattern repetition, according to Sky News.

Senior BBC journalist on disinformation Shayan Sardarizadeh shared some factors that could have enhanced the image’s virality.

For one, the image was “a reaction to a huge fire at a camp in Rafah that killed at least 45 Palestinians sheltering there on Sunday,” he said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Monday that the incident was “a tragic mishap,” according to The Times of Israel.

Also, “multiple influencers, athletes and celebrities” shared the post on Instagram, where it was “very easy to share the image via Instagram Stories”. Pro-Palestinian protesters reportedly relied heavily on Instagram for content dissemination, he added.

Finally, the image did not appear to violate community guidelines “unlike some of the graphic Instagram videos of bodies at the camp in Rafah that were removed by Meta,” he added. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: X Video Falsely Claims To Show Children Faking Their Deaths In Rafah)

The messaging in the image has also been recreated in various ways, including that of a picture of two eyes for the word “eyes” and the rest of the message emblazoned on a white placard amid a crowd bearing Palestinian flags, as seen via the Washington Post’s report.

Celebrities who have shared either the image itself or its messaging depicted in other forms include Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan, singer-songwriter Kehlani, top Indian actor Varun Dhawan and pop star Dua Lipa, according to Sky News.

The image’s message might be attributed to Rik Peeperkorn, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) representative in Gaza and the West Bank, according to the outlet. Peeperkorn reportedly declared, “All eyes are on Rafah,” as Israel prepared to invade Gaza in February as part of Israel’s response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel.

The image also appeared to be one of the first AI-generated pieces of viral activist artwork, Sky News reported.

Pro-Israel activists have responded with a graphic reading “Where were your eyes on October 7?” according to Sardarizadeh.