Telegram is both a messaging and social media app. People in the United States and across the world use it to video call and text each other, or someone can set up a group to send messages to followers.
That second use has been very popular during the Israel–Hamas war.
When Hamas started attacking southern Israel on Oct. 7, their channel was flooded with propaganda videos showcasing their training and the fight against the nearby Israel Defense Forces.
Both the Hamas account and the account for its military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, have grown substantially since the war began.
Telegram has become one of the main information pipelines during this war. Most of what Hamas and its allies post are pure propaganda and should be approached with skepticism. With that in mind, some of that propaganda may still offer insight into the group's operations.
Videos shared by Hamas appear to show them disabling communications pylons and security turrets using drones. While Scripps News can't verify Hamas' narrative completely, we were able to geolocate the videos, and Hamas' narrative would explain how these comms stations were destroyed.
Telegram hasn’t been a boon for just Hamas, either.
Another group on the app, called South First Responders, has quickly grown in followers. Members describe themselves as first responders who have seen the massacres committed by Hamas in southern Israel first hand.
The footage they share — dashcam video from abandoned vehicles or action camera video from dead fighters — is primary source material that shows the havoc caused on Oct. 7.
They were the first group to share drone video of the site of a music festival that was attacked by Hamas. The dash cam footage they shared gave us some of the first insight into what exactly happened at the festival.
For many looking for immediate information about the conflict, Telegram is becoming the new go-to place for evidence about what’s happening on the ground before traditional media reports.
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