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From War Reporters to Family: How Palestinians are Sharing Their Stories with Millions on Social Media

Palestinians, who are at the heart of a vexing and enduring conflict, have found an innovative way to harness the power of social media not only to document their war-torn lives, but also to connect with millions across the globe. Historically, mainstream media platforms primarily disseminated the socio-political narratives about Palestine; however, with the advent of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others, Palestinians have been granted the opportunity to control their narratives. They are increasingly using social media to provide firsthand accounts of the war that’s etched into their everyday lives, reframing the discourse and imbuing it with their lived experiences. One of the pivotal points of this emerging phenomenon is the notion that followers of these posts and stories don’t merely see these Palestinians as victims, oppressed, or some far-off objects of sympathy or remorse. Instead, social media enables an emotional connection between Palestinians and the international online community, leading to the perception of these content creators as part of an extended global family. This shift can be attributed to the raw and intimate nature of the content shared by Palestinians. Their posts encompass diverse themes and emotions beyond the tragic rubble of their destroyed domiciles or the breathless sprint to find cover during shelling. They share slices of everyday existence—children playing, jovial gatherings at meals, singing songs, and the grief of loss, all against the ominous backdrop of a relentless conflict. By sharing not just the calamities but also the precious threads of normalcy entwined with their lives, Palestinians paint a broader, more nuanced picture of their existence. Furthermore, by using platforms like Instagram, which revolves around visuals, Palestinians drive home the stark reality of their circumstances more powerfully. There is a distinct verity in visuals, making insurgency, demolition, and human rights violations more palpable than figures and casualty numbers listed in a report. Viewers across the world are getting a deeper understanding of the everyday trials and tribulations Palestinians face, making them less of distant newsmakers and more of familiar faces. It is also of particular importance how the youth of Palestine are utilizing social media platforms. These platforms have largely become a tool for their resistance, resilience, and their verification of events in a world that’s increasingly brandishing anything not endorsed by mainstream media as ‘fake news.’ The credibility of their posts, as evidenced by their demonstrable transparency and authenticity, has been noted by the international community, including human rights organizations and the press. In addition, the

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