About Syntax

The Digital Occupation of Palestine

Mara Cavallaro

Algospeak promises to cut through systemic social media censorship of Gaza. Is it working?

On the first day of their genocide in Gaza,1 the Israel Defense Forces posted on Instagram. Were you to open their page, you would have seen a square map of Israeli cities and the Occupied Territories, without the label Palestine; then an ominous graphic announcing Operation Swords of Iron, with two sets of emoji swords in the caption; later, a video of missiles mid-air and a declaration that Israel had entered a state of war. The images burn with bloodlust. Their casualness—the playful icons, the unwanted intimacy of an IDF soldier held in one’s palm—is horrifying, a mirror held to the ordinariness of Israeli violence. 

In Gaza, meanwhile, beneath Israel’s relentless bombing, Palestinians turned to the same platform to document the IDF’s brutality. Motaz Azaiza, the now-evacuated photographer, posted a viral set of images depicting the destruction of Gaza City: a mattress atop gray rubble; a man covered in blood, held upright by other hands; a residential building collapsing, its skeleton instantly shrouded by smoke. The reporter Hind Khoudary uploaded a video of a windowsill, the lush green view on the other side turned haunting by the sound of explosions. Bisan Owda, then a 24-year-old filmmaker, penned, and promptly published, a note in Arabic to her page. “The sound of bombing makes us grunt; shakes our insides,” she began. “We feel our cells breaking as if they were mirrors...The night in Gaza is the longest night in history.” In the morning, she wrote, she woke to dust on her face and in the bed. The sun rose, but the nightmare remained.

By May, seven months and a new year later, Owda and over two million Gazans continued in the terror of that endless night. Israeli forces had bombed her office and her home; she had been forcibly displaced to Khan Younis, and then to Rafah, where she moved into a tent; she was hungry, sick, and scared; and she had filmed hundreds of diaristic updates, in English and Arabic, on Instagram and TikTok, documenting these injustices for millions of new followers around the world—myself included. In one such video, from January 7—Day 93, what use are calendar dates anymore?—the storyteller-turned-journalist carefully delivered the following news:

In the last 24 hours, many massacres were committed…Two more journalists—Hamza Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya—were killed. That means that 109 journalists were killed since the beginning of this war…even more than the number of journalists that were killed in World War II. Can you imagine this?

It is hard to. But the physical and narrative violence Owda describes is precisely what carves the vacuum she, Azaiza, Khoudary, and so many others have sought to fill online. Without enough reporters, who have been targeted and killed alongside their families, without foreign correspondents, who have been forbidden by Israel from entering the Gaza Strip, and without enough truthful coverage in Israeli and American news, which are beholden to the Zionist consensus of much of the West, the burden of proof in media—and by extension in the court of the empire’s opinion—has been violently forced onto the very population facing ethnic cleansing and genocide. Owda puts on a press vest and vlogs her own forced displacement. Civilians become journalists, running to film and post the horrors they’ve lived before even beginning to grieve. And both the camera and the witness at the other end of the screen find themselves part of a war—forces of fact against an army of propaganda and lies.

Owda inhales air that “smells like…bombing”—she often livestreams on TikTok as bombs explode in the background—and diligently continues Day 93’s report. An Israeli quadcopter bombed the street outside the Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital, she says. The bombardment of a northern building killed 70 people, many of them children, most of them displaced. “It’s just a new massacre added to the massacres that have been committed against us…Day after day the situation is just getting worse…Pray for us; pray for our safety.” The video ends, and begins again. “Hey everyone, this is Bisan from Gaza.” It loops until we scroll away. 

Near the top of the TikTok’s comment section, as requested, there are prayers. May Allah continue to protect you; Praying for your safety; Ameen. But there is also a strange note. A 25-year-old user named Jade P, one of Owda’s followers, writes: “thank you for this recipe bisan! i can’t wait to share it with my friends and family!!” The comment has over 800 likes, and toggled beneath it, emerging with a tap, are similarly inane replies. 

“It’s so good I didn’t even know you could make cake so fluffy”

“can’t wait to try it!”

“Me too! I heard you can add so much to this dish!”

“Happy happy birthday”

“I love the hack of adding watermelons!!!”

The incongruence between the content and the comments is jarring. And though the last reply—a nod to the symbol adopted in 1967 when Israel criminalized public displays of the Palestinian flag—is rooted in a concrete colonial history, the texts are otherwise cryptic. They are also, seemingly, everywhere. Beneath Owda’s updates on genocide, disguised messages thank her for the “amazing makeup tutorial[s],” “informative” eyeshadow and blush techniques, and a hair styling routine that “looks so easy to try.” Others seek to boost views by increasing time spent on any one post: there are requests for users to “water the [emoji] flower” by commenting, in a thread, their own emoji water droplets, and questions about favorite movies, language study, and seasons.

Across social media, even original videos, stories, reels, posts, and captions about Gaza are distorted. In fact, this is the norm. Pro-Palestine becomes “pro-[watermelon emoji],” Israel becomes “Isr@el,” Gaza is referred to as “Watermelon City,” Palestine is censored with asterisks between its letters, genocide is “g-cide,” and so on. Creators begin videos and tweets with celebrity gossip only to launch into critiques of US complicity in genocide. Some pro-Palestine Instagram accounts, Wired reported late last year, have taken to posting with the hashtag #IStandWithIsrael. Others use selfies to break up their Palestine content, posting smiling, dolled-up photos with captions requesting eSIM donations or petition signatures. On my own feeds and For You pages, I have seen all of the above and more—from friends, writers, influencers, scholars, strangers, teenagers, mothers. Dystopia pervades each of our platforms, and its villains—the “algo,” the “al gore,” the “algo rhythm”—are hinted at extensively in code. We read something that means something else; we respond. The result is a new, secret language: one understood only within the context of palpable, systematic social media censorship of Palestine and the amateur efforts to evade it.


Video Credits: Bisan Owda / @gazapressheroes

In his essay on language and genocide grief, Abdelrahman ElGendy presents Arabic as ثكلى (thakla), “the original mourner” and “mother of boundless loss.” English, by contrast, is the empire’s language, inextricable from its violence, a “vessel…borrow[ed] to render…rage and grief legible to…the world.” Its power lies in its vast audience, and in those who use it. Too often, that makes it a weapon, sharpened by both calculated passivity—as seen in New York Times headlines—and active dehumanization, as voiced by an entire brigade of English-speaking Israeli officials and IDF spokespeople in speeches, on television, and online. “Words,” the coalition of Writers Against the War on Gaza noted in October, have generated “ferocious support” for the bombardment of Palestine—a support that kills. Even language’s anti-imperial thread, our other English, Fargo Nissim Tbakhi posits, is frequently “dulled, confiscated and replaced.” We write, “believ[ing] our words sharper than they turn out to be. We play with toy hammers and think we can break down concrete. We think a spoon is a saw.” 

Algospeak, with its keyboard symbols and peculiarities, exists on this spectrum of language. It is devoid of the “melodies” and “histories” ElGendy says are held in Arabic names, which are now so often self-censored—and yet it destabilizes and reformulates English to accommodate pro-Palestinian demands. In some ways, it is reminiscent of the English language ElGendy vows to speak, one with “shuffle[d]...syntax,” “manipulate[d]... diction,” and “incantations of liberation” written “into its walls.” In others, it looks like a slow loss of meaning, layers of earth obstructing the view of the burning core underneath. But always—in each of its carefully chosen words—algospeak should carry not only hidden messages, but other truths: that as readers and writers and social media users, we, and our words, are part of a narrative war; that language is a tool, to be used for revolutionary ends; and that one of those ends must be a free Palestine. Let this, then, be a gateway into more. 

The origins of algospeak, by definition, are intertwined with those of suppression—and while it’s hard to pinpointwhen exactly censorship began, its tipping point is clear. Three years ago, after rights groups filed a complaint against Israel’s Cyber Unit, a division dedicated to censoring online content, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the Unit’s right to interface directly—and secretly—with social media companies. When an Israeli district court ruled that dozens of Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem were required to vacate their homes for Jewish settlers three weeks later, then-justice-minister Benny Gantz promptly made the case to Facebook and TikTok for urgent action on content removal. Simultaneously, hundreds of Palestinians advocating against the Sheikh Jarrah expulsions noticed that something was wrong with the posts they published online. Their content was taken down from Instagram and Facebook. Accounts were shadowbanned, or worse, suspended. The hashtag #AlAqsa—as in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was violently raided by Israeli police twice in April of 2021—was blocked and hidden from search results by Meta. “While Palestinians were fighting for their survival on the ground, social media companies were actively silencing their voices online,” Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy Manager at Access Now, said at the time. The censorship became so blatant, and the public pressure for investigation so persistent, that Meta agreed to commission an independent analysis of its content moderation in both Arabic and Hebrew. 

The resulting report, published by Business for Social Responsibility in 2022, confirmed that Meta’s actions “appear to have had an adverse human rights impact…on the rights of Palestinian users to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, political participation, and non-discrimination, and therefore on the ability of Palestinians to share information and insights about their experiences as they occurred.” It also noted an apparent language bias: while on balance Arabic was over-enforced (posts were taken down unnecessarily), Hebrew was under-enforced. To Palestinians like Fatafta, this was no surprise. BSR, in turn, prioritized 21 recommendations, ranging from ensuring user guideline strikes be “proportional to the violation[s]” to disclosing the number of requests “received from government entities,” to address core policy faults. Of these, Meta committed to wholly implement ten. Israel continued to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. 

By last June, Meta claimed it had completed five of BSR’s recommendations. But its actions since Hamas’ attack on October 7, Human Rights Watch notes, demonstrate not only that the company did “not [deliver] on the promises it made,” but that “the problem has grown only more acute.” In the last several months, Meta has hidden Palestinian flags from comment sections (this issue, they assured, was caused by a “bug”); translated user bios with Palestinian flags and the Arabic phrase “praise be to God” as “Palestinian terrorists” (another “bug”); removed comments like “Free Palestine,” “Stop the Genocide,” and “Ceasefire Now”; suspended Palestine-focused accounts like those of Motaz Azaiza and @letstalkpalestine; removed posts criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu; applied “adult nudity and sexual activity” labels to images of dead, clothed Palestinians; and shadowbanned accounts posting about Gaza—all while leaving examples of anti-Palestinian genocidal language, sometimes in the same comment sections from which peaceful pro-Palestine messages were removed, untouched and unmoderated. In its December analysis of 1,050 submitted instances of “online censorship” and “suppression of content related to Israel and Palestine” on social media, Human Rights Watch found that in 1,049 of the cases, the content removed was posted by Palestinians or their supporters. Even the rights group’s report was undermined by digital censorship: Instagram marked HRW’s official call for evidence as “spam.” Just three months later, Instagram officially limited the reach of all “political” content, deprioritizing it by default. 2

Recently, similar practices of censorship have been observed on both X (formerly Twitter)—which already had a history of suppressing Palestinian journalists and activists—and TikTok, despite Republican and Zionist claims that the latter promotes anti-Israel content. Last November, two weeks before TikTok’s head of operations met with Sacha Baron Cohen and Amy Schumer3 about supposed pro-Palestine bias, the company reassured the public that #standwithIsrael had 17 million more views than #standwithPalestine in the US, and vowed to work with the Anti-Defamation League (which defines anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic) to “stay ahead of new forms of hate speech.” A day before the meeting, Forbes reported that the State of Israel had formally requested the removal of some 8,000 posts related to its war on Gaza from TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Ninety-four percent of those requests, according to the Israeli state prosecutor’s office, had been met. (It’s worth noting here that in his book The Palestine Laboratory, Anthony Loewenstein writes that “incitement”—one ground for content removal—“is so broadly defined by Israel that in many cases simply expressing support for Palestinian human rights, sharing a video online, or being opposed to Zionist colonization is deemed inappropriate.”)

Meanwhile, IDF soldiers have posted TikTok videos of themselves rummaging through Palestinian women’s wardrobes for underwear, giggling and posing with lingerie when they find it. They’ve filmed themselves DJing as residential buildings are bombed in the background, celebrating Palestinian death and calling for more of it—footage so callous and vile that it was referenced as evidence of genocidal speech by attorneys at the International Court of Justice. Some of these hate videos, investigated by The New York Times, were removed from the platform only after journalists questioned TikTok about them. Still others remain online. 

On TikTok, biased public statements and glaring moderation failures are further compounded by reports from widely followed Palestinian users of significant dips in their views when they post about Gaza. Even @gazapressheroes—the account where most of Bisan Owda’s and Motaz Azaiza’s videos are reuploaded—posted in January about being shadowbanned, and questioned an apparent glitch disabling the “Follow” button on their profile. “In the past month the account got zero new followers and the content shifted from 10m views to thousands,” the caption reads. “TikTok you need to explain!” When Wired asked about the perceived need for algospeak to avoid censorship on Israel and Palestine the next month, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, responded that “what [was] really important” was “that the spirit of what [TikTok is] trying to do is well understood.” A straightforward answer, apparently, was out of the question. A principled stance even more so. And for what? Biden signed a bill that threatens to ban TikTok regardless, and one driving motivation—to censor Palestine—has been made shamelessly explicit by legislators. Nebraska Senator Pete Ricketts, in an April comment on the proposed ban, justified his support for the measure by claiming that many young people get their news from TikTok (true), where the “Chinese Communist party” is pushing “pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas hashtags” (false), and that TikTok is responsible for “what’s happening at Columbia University and other campuses across the country.” (Responsibility for that, of course, is on Rickett’s own place of employment—had the US government refused to fund a genocide, had it condemned Israel’s bombardments as fiercely as it did Hamas instead of providing IDF weapons and vetoing ceasefire resolutions, had it not vilified peaceful anti-war movements and put targets on students’ backs, young Americans would not be protesting their country’s role in genocide.)

To their discredit, Chew’s most recognizable counterparts in the social media world, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have their own collections of troubling remarks and priorities. Over a decade ago, while developing Facebook’s News Feed, Zuckerberg noted that “a squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” Besides being brazenly out of touch, the comment remains misleading in its affirmation of individual agency and preference online. Yes, the content with which we engage informs the content we’ll see next—a feedback loop that poses its own challenge to conscientization—but the validity of our interests is also being decided for us. The truth of the Facebook algorithm, or any other, Kyle Chayka notes, is that “tech companies [are] dictating the priorities of the recommendations.” They also define the parameters of language—Meta is currently deciding whether to include “Zionist” as a protected category; shaheed4 is the most moderated word across all its platforms—and operate to maximize engagement and profit, no matter the human cost. In November, Musk, who has both amplified and posted his own anti-Semitic tweets, met with Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and subsequently affirmed that Israel had “no choice” but to wage war. It should come as no surprise that hate speech, and especially anti-Palestinian hate speech, has flourished on his platform.

Across social media, then, the one-sided, pervasive over-moderation of Palestinians and Palestine is so frightening because it undercuts some of the few spaces where rights abuse is documented and narrated to a mass audience—where, as Sarah Aziza notes, civilians transmit “truths systematically excised from legacy media,” and where virality creates a shared library of evidence that is referenced in protest, in conversation, in petitions, and in writing. Facebook has 3 billion monthly users; Instagram 2.4 billion; TikTok 1 billion; Twitter half a billion. “So many people have told me that this is a life-defining moment for them that has shaped their views in profound ways,” the longtime Al Jazeera journalist Laila Al-Arian wrote in January. And they all had one thing in common, or at least it felt that way. “Those people have seen what I’ve seen.”

Ten days after Owda’s video lamenting the killing of Palestinian media workers and a week before Al-Arian’s essay, the Israeli journalist Gideon Levy articulated plainly the intersections between seeing and genocide. In Israel, he explained on Democracy Now, the news media doesn’t show Gaza. In fact, he said, “the Israeli average viewer does not see Gaza at all.” They see soldiers, they hear figures, they learn statistics. But they “don’t see Palestinians…It seems as if they don’t exist.” 

This manufactured erasure of Palestinian life—and death—is so ingrained and essential to the state of Israel that it has carved it into the land. The separation walls, checkpoints, and fences all serve to undermine entry, exit, and ultimately, prevent sight. In the quotidian—the highways, the maternity wards, the schools—Palestinians are segregated. And as new technologies develop, they, too, are molded to this purpose. Online architecture and the policies scaffolding it engineer Palestinian invisibility. “Digital occupation” affirms the physical, and Big Tech bolsters the digital. The globalized, privatized censorship of Palestine and its diaspora that social media companies now deliver—however outside the purview of geopolitics they claim to be—is merely the latest reconstitution of this apartheid landscape. One cannot, and should not, be understood without the other.

Video credit: AJ+ (@ajplus and @wizard_bisan1)

In 2012, not long after an Israeli military bulldozer destroyed key Gazan internet connection lines, the media scholar Helga Tawil-Souri argued that Israel had never disengaged from the Strip in 2005, and had instead technologized its presence (hence “ digital occupation”).“Israeli production of and control over Gaza’s borders are conventional and new, real and abstract, physical and cyber,” she wrote. The conditions she described then persist today: phone calls within Gaza are routed through Israel; internet connection (2G, whereas Israel has 4G) is dependent on minimal Israeli bandwidth allocations, making it slow to access; Israeli restrictions limit the “placement, number, and strength of internet routers”; Israel controls Gaza’s only fiber optic internet line—and all the while high-tech Israeli drones buzz overhead, surveilling and ready to attack. This unequal infrastructure, Tawil-Souri maintains, is a twenty-first-century military occupation—defined by its digital checkpoints and borders. 

Now, as the world becomes increasingly dependent on social media for news about Gaza, Israel’s virtual policing of Palestine is all the more evident. Since October—during which Israeli attacks decreased internet connectivity levels by 80 percent—Israel has continually shut down internet and communications access in Gaza, collapsing vital digital contact both within the Strip and with the outside world. “We have no internet,” Owda frets in an Al Jazeera Instagram video from January 28. “It’s the eighth time, and it’s the longest period—almost 15 to 16 days…Every day I…try to find any place with internet…to upload my videos and tell you guys what is happening.” 

Meanwhile, Israel deliberately bombs designated hubs with internet connection, like Nasser Hospital. Donors around the world crowdsource eSIMs to connect Gazans to Egyptian or Israeli mobile towers, but the technology operates best from high elevation, making the people who rely on it hypervisible and at risk of being sniped or bombed. Sometimes, they don’t work at all—a reminder that what we have seen is a fraction of the horror, the rare footage that is not only documented but that makes it through internet limbo and a deliberately destroyed digital landscape to our policed social media. In the Al Jazeera clip, Owda interviews a journalist named Amjad, who points to his phone, which holds the footage he wants to upload. “I have ten eSIMs but…I still don’t have internet!” he says. “We can’t do anything without internet.” Any doubt about Israeli intent in this endeavor may be assuaged by a decade-old quote from the IDF’s own social media unit creator, Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Avital Leibovich: “Social media,” she said, “is a warzone for us here in Israel.”

Indeed, for as long as social media has existed, those who dare use it to criticize Israel have been swiftly punished—by both the state and private tech companies, who too often appear to be “freelancing” on Israel’s behalf, Loewenstein writes. “Social media posts,” he continues, “are increasingly the sole reason a Palestinian will be detained for days, weeks, or months by the Israeli military.” The IDF searches phones by force in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A Knesset vote one month into this genocide criminalized, to much uproar, even the “consumption” of videos deemed to be terrorism-affiliated. (Terrorism, by President Herzog’s own twisted definition, may encompass anything and everything remotely related to Gaza; six Palestinian rights groups have previously been designated as terrorist organizations.) Evidently, digital fronts are central to Israel’s project of Palestinian obscurity—an effort that extends from propaganda posts on Instagram to internet shutdowns in Gaza; from the monitoring of what we, six thousand miles away, get to read online to what Israeli citizens themselves engage with. To see—even through a screen, on social media, Levy reminds us—is to recognize, to witness humanity, truth, pain, joy. That is precisely what makes it so necessary, and for Israel, so dangerous. 

How, then, do we get more people to see? Tactics like algospeak, at their core, are rooted in the need to safeguard and disseminate visuals and information. After all, as the editors of n+1 note, the combination of algorithmic deprioritization, blurring tools, and warning pop-ups has ensured that “wide swaths of the US population have never seen [images of Gaza] and likely never will.” But algospeak is uncoordinated, sometimes thoughtful and sometimes bizarre or unintentionally softening, at times desensitizing—and its efficacy, considering the big picture, is unclear. The methods that comprise it, Fatafta says, are “creative” but ultimately “unsustainable,” because “companies feed their algorithms all the time…[and can] update [them] accordingly.” To really work, language would have to evolve constantly, at breakneck pace—but even now, Reina Sultan writes, algospeak may not be “easily searchable or legible to a broad audience.” In its attempt to scale up, it holds the potential to scale down. Algospeak remains, for Fatafta, a “short-term solution.” 

In her Jewish Currents essay on bearing witness to genocide, the Palestinian-American writer Sarah Aziza notes another challenge: “Our invisibility is not a matter of lacking images, but of a social-political vision in which the witness is precluded.” Loewenstein adds that “being able to see Israeli atrocities against Palestinians doesn’t work with people who do not view Palestinians as human beings.” By these logics, those of us with Gaza on our feeds have seen so much, enough, too much—and paradoxically, many of us have not seen at all. In this desperate context, perhaps we must take advantage of social media no longer as a tactic primarily for sight, but rather as one for the dismantling of an entire system of violent, imperial perception management, so that this country can finally, truly, see.

This, in turn, may begin with bringing everyone who has liked Motaz’s photos, watched Bisan’s vlogs, seen Reem and Sidra and Refaat, and heard Hind, to action. Far too many of us have fallen into either a loop of passive digital resistance without mobilization or parasocial relationships that do not extend care to population. In Owda’s comment sections, for instance, it’s easy to find notes pledging a devoted allegiance specifically to her. “If anything happens to Bisan, I’m fighting,” one user comments, beneath replies scrambling to place when and where the journalist was last seen. “If anything happens to Bisan, that’s your ass,” another TikToker says. Only something has happened to Bisan. She’s lost her city, her livelihood, the future she imagined; tens of thousands of her people have been murdered. By their own logic, these users should be fighting already—should have been fighting for months. Instead they realize, consciously or not, the spectatorship and fandom that is coded into social media—and miss the liberation movement on the horizon. 

“It’s telling,” Jia Tolentino wrote, prophetically, in 2019, “that the most mainstream gestures of [digital] solidarity are pure representation, like viral reposts…meanwhile the actual mechanisms through which political solidarity is enacted, like strikes and boycotts, still exist on the fringe.” The repost, the like, the comment, the follow, the algorithm boost—it has all been a bare minimum. It was never enough. “We must be engaged in…writing [that] calls others into mobilization, generating feelings within our audiences that cannot be dispersed through the act of reading, but must be carried out into collective action,” Tbakhi says. “We must write”—and here, I’ll add post—“in such a way that there is no business, there is no usual.” 

The second truth Aziza compels us to remember is that for all the imagined radical potential of social media—which facilitated global boycotts, a student movement, and the two largest pro-Palestine protests in US history (I myself found a ride to DC through Instagram, from the roommate of a friend of a friend)—there is just as much necessary organizing to be done off of it. “To suggest that Gazans can overcome territorial containment through ‘virtual resistance’ fails to recognize both the materiality of high technology and the fact that changes on the ground are needed,” Tawil-Souri wrote, not long after the height of the Arab Spring. “Save a significant reform of the neoliberal order and of Israeli occupation, a Gazan ‘new media revolution’ will remain a virtual illusion.” Digital resistance, in other words, is by its very nature digital—limited by its spontaneity and ephemerality, its lack of deep roots. Social media will not be our savior. 

That is not to say, though, that it’s not needed—however enticing this conclusion may be. When I began writing, I found myself wanting to declare that of course the biggest hack of the algorithm for those who have already witnessed enough was to get off of it; that we should spend less time online, and certainly less time encouraging people to stay online, inevitably lining billionaires’ pockets, and more time in the world. But growing support for Palestine and the rejection of official narratives, especially among young people, has shown us that social media is a force. To deny that would be to deny the Palestinian users who have shaped it, despite algorithmic censorship and digital occupation. To deny that would be to deny that true witness has occurred. 

Revolution—and that is what we need—demands all of us and all of our tools. It needs journalists and poets and resistance leaders; boycotts and strikes and protests and the destruction of the weaponry of war. It’s only logical that in a digital age, we need digital solidarity, cyber defenses, virtual organizing, and the close monitoring of injustice online.We just mustn't forget that the world is physical, too.

1 I mark this as the ‘first’ day for clarity, because journalists like Owda refer to October 7 as Day 1 of this genocide. However, genocides begin before mass killing, with the creation of apartheid regimes and the denial of human rights. October 7 marks the start of a new phase, a violent escalation of nearly eight decades of IDF occupation and over a century of war on Palestine.

2 To undo this default setting, go to the three stacked lines at the upper right of your profile. Scroll down to click on “Content preferences,” and then on “Political content.” Select “Don’t limit.” For other versions of the app, click on “Settings and privacy” to find “Content preferences.”

3 Schumer signed an open letter to TikTok ostensibly about the need for protecting Jewish creators but with points like “[TikTok is allowing] videos spreading misinformation including, ‘Israel is committing genocide.’”

4 Shaheed is Arabic for ‘witness’ or ‘martyr.’

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Mara Cavallaro is a writer and fact-checker based broadly on the East Coast.