A Viral Post on Rafah: Capturing the Attention of 47 Million People

A captivating image created by artificial intelligence is circulating on social media. The image portrays tent camps for displaced Palestinians, accompanied by a powerful slogan that reads “All Eyes on Rafah.”

Celebrities like Dua Lipa, Lewis Hamilton, and Gigi and Bella Hadid have shared the post more than 47 million times on Instagram.

According to the health ministry controlled by Hamas, the incident resulted in the deaths of at least 45 individuals and left hundreds more injured. Israel claimed that it had specifically targeted two Hamas commanders, suggesting that the fatal explosion may have been triggered by a secondary blast.

The Israeli strike has received widespread international condemnation, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing it as a “tragic mishap.”

BBC Arabic discovered that the image gained viral popularity after a young man in Malaysia shared it on his social media account.

The slogan “All Eyes on Rafah” originated from the city of Rafah itself.

Where did the slogan All Eyes on Rafah start?

Earlier this week, a tragic incident occurred in Rafah, which prompted the sharing of video clips featuring Richard Peeperkorn, a representative of the World Health Organization in the occupied Palestinian territories. These clips captured his remarks from February.

During that time, he expressed his concern about the potential attack by Israeli forces on Rafah, emphasizing the attention that the city had garnered.

Mr. Peeperkorn expressed his concerns about the potential consequences of a large-scale incursion into the city by the Israeli army. He emphasized the possibility of an “unimaginable disaster” if the invasion were to occur. Speaking to journalists through an online call at the UN’s headquarters in Geneva, his apprehensions were evident. The Israeli army’s looming threat to invade the city raised alarm bells for Mr. Peeperkorn, highlighting the grave risks involved.

Since then, officials and activists have been echoing Mr. Peeperkorn’s phrase to express their deep concern and strong opposition to Israel’s military operation in Rafah, which commenced three weeks ago.

The phrase “All Eyes on Rafah” quickly gained momentum, spreading to rallies worldwide and gaining traction on social media platforms in the months that followed.

The AI-generated image with the slogan has gained immense popularity on social media platforms in the past two days. As per an Instagram count on Thursday afternoon, the image has been shared over 47 million times.

Several well-known celebrities, including American actor Mark Ruffalo, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, and Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, have also shared the image and the slogan.

According to experts interviewed by the BBC, there are several factors that contribute to the rapid viral spread of the All Eyes on Rafah message.

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Several factors contribute to the success of this post on Instagram. One key factor is the AI-generated nature of the image, which adds a unique and visually appealing element. Additionally, the simplicity of the slogan makes it easy for viewers to understand and remember. The post’s shareability is another crucial aspect, as Instagram users can quickly share it with just a few clicks. Furthermore, the endorsement of celebrities has played a significant role in its widespread popularity.

According to Anastasia Kavada, who teaches an MA course on media, campaigning, and social change at the University of Westminster, the timing and political context of the post play a crucial role.

The video has become incredibly popular as it spreads during a time when people are feeling a strong sense of anger and frustration regarding the attack on the camp in Rafah.

Maher Nammari, an e-marketing and artificial intelligence consultant, shares a similar perspective, highlighting the significance of both the incident itself and the subsequent online interaction.

He expressed his sorrow over the attack in Rafah on Sunday, stating that it has left many feeling deeply saddened, as he told BBC Arabic.

Has AI helped take the post viral?

According to experts, what makes it even more shareable is the AI-generated image included in the post itself.

The image, which shows a sprawling desert and a tent camp with the text “All Eyes on Rafah,” does not depict an actual location or the city of Rafah.

In response to the criticism, the Malaysian artist, known as shahv4012 on Instagram, addressed the issue in a statement quoted by Time magazine. He acknowledged that there were individuals who were not satisfied with the picture and template, and he expressed his apologies if he had made any mistakes that may have offended anyone.

He emphasized the importance of not underestimating the significance of the Rafah issue. He urged everyone to actively promote awareness about it, in order to create a sense of fear and unease among those who oppose us.

Dr. Reilly explains that even though the image portrays a somewhat sanitized version of the situation in Rafah, this can actually be beneficial for digital activists in terms of its shareability.

According to him, the reason behind this is that the image doesn’t violate Instagram’s terms of use guidelines by having any explicit content. In fact, it helps raise awareness for the cause that activists are trying to shed light on.

Instagram features play a crucial role in spreading social campaigns far and wide. These features provide a platform for users to engage with content and share it with their followers, thereby increasing the reach of the campaign. The following Instagram features contribute to the wide dissemination of social campaigns:

1. Hashtags: Instagram allows users to include hashtags in their posts, making it easier for others to discover and engage with the campaign. By using relevant and popular hashtags, social campaigns can attract a wider audience and increase their visibility.

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2. Stories: Instagram Stories are a popular feature that allows users to share photos, videos, and other content that disappears after 24 hours. Social campaigns can leverage this feature to create engaging and interactive content that captures the attention of users. Stories also offer features like polls, quizzes, and swipe-up links, which enable campaign organizers to gather feedback and direct users to specific actions.

3. Explore page: The Explore page on Instagram showcases content that aligns with users’ interests and preferences. By optimizing their posts with relevant tags and captions, social campaigns have the opportunity to be featured on the Explore page, exposing them to a wider audience and increasing their chances of going viral.

4. IGTV: Instagram’s long-form video platform, IGTV, allows users to upload videos of up to one hour in length. Social campaigns can utilize this feature to create in-depth and informative videos that educate and inspire their audience. IGTV videos can be previewed on users’ feeds, driving engagement and encouraging users to watch the full video.

5. Influencer partnerships: Instagram is known for its thriving influencer community. Social campaigns can collaborate with influencers who have a large following and align with the campaign’s goals and values. Influencers can create sponsored content, share personal anecdotes, and promote the campaign to their audience, significantly expanding its reach.

6. Direct messaging: Instagram’s direct messaging feature enables users to have private conversations with their followers. Social campaigns can leverage this feature to engage in one-on-one conversations, answer questions, and provide personalized support to their audience. This direct interaction fosters a sense of community and encourages users to become advocates for the campaign.

In conclusion, Instagram’s various features provide social campaigns with the tools and opportunities to spread widely. By utilizing hashtags, Stories, the Explore page, IGTV, influencer partnerships, and direct messaging, campaigns can engage with a larger audience, increase their visibility, and ultimately achieve their goals.

How do Instagram features help social campaigns spread widely?

Instagram’s own tools have played a significant role in amplifying the reach of the post.

In 2021, Instagram introduced the “Add Yours” feature, which enables users to easily re-share a photo with just a few clicks. When “shahv4012” posted the picture, he took advantage of this feature and shared it with others.

Users have the option to personalize and share posts by adding their own captions and tags. This feature allows for easy customization and sharing.

According to Mr. Nammari, the incorporation of this feature in political or social campaigns is a relatively new development.

According to the expert, when individuals utilize this feature for political purposes, their goal is usually to initiate widespread campaigns since the post gains significant traction and popularity.

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Counter-campaign: Where were your eyes?

The counter-campaign raises an important question: Where were your eyes when all this was happening? It serves as a wake-up call to those who may have been oblivious or turned a blind eye to the issues at hand. The message is clear – it’s time to open your eyes and take notice of what’s happening around you.

In a world where information is readily available at our fingertips, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and overlook the injustices happening in our society. The counter-campaign urges us to break free from our ignorance and actively engage in the issues that affect us all.

The power of awareness cannot be underestimated. By being informed and educated about the problems that exist, we can take meaningful action to bring about change. The counter-campaign challenges us to step out of our comfort zones and confront the uncomfortable truths that surround us.

It’s not enough to simply be aware, though. The counter-campaign also calls for accountability. It reminds us that we have a responsibility to hold ourselves and others accountable for our actions, or lack thereof. We cannot claim ignorance when we have the means to educate ourselves and make a difference.

The counter-campaign serves as a reminder that we are all interconnected. The issues that affect one person or community ultimately impact us all. It’s time to recognize this interconnectedness and work together to create a more just and equitable society.

So, where were your eyes? The counter-campaign challenges us to reflect on our own complacency and encourages us to become active participants in the fight for justice and equality. It’s time to open our eyes, stand up, and make a difference.

Counter-campaign: Where were your eyes?

A counter-campaign has emerged on social media in response to the All Eyes on Rafah message.

Using AI technology, a captivating image has been designed with the powerful message: “Where were your eyes on October 7?” This thought-provoking statement alludes to the tragic Hamas attacks that occurred in southern Israel, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,200 lives and the abduction of 252 individuals.

According to Israeli media, the image had been shared approximately half a million times before it was removed from certain accounts and resulted in the banning of Mr. Jamon’s Instagram account.

Instagram’s parent company, Meta, has confirmed that the image was mistakenly removed due to a technical issue. They have stated that the image does not violate their policies and are currently investigating the incident.

According to the health ministry controlled by Hamas, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of at least 36,170 individuals in Gaza.

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