In recent days, a video showing children in cages has been circulating online. According to many Internet users, they come from Israel and have been kidnapped by Hamas. This is another recording that is flooding the Internet in connection with the Hamas attack on Israel. In reality, however, the video is of a humorous nature and has nothing to do with the dramatic events of 7 October.
The video began to flood social media on 8 October. We can find it, among others, on X (formerly Twitter). Due to its topic and relevance to current events, it has received millions of views. What gave it additional credibility was the fact that the media widely reported that Hamas had kidnapped many people from Israel, including children.
Children in cages – audio from the recording
The first thing we decided to look at when analysing the video clip was the sound. The person that can be heard speaks Arabic. He laughs and says the children behaved inappropriately. However, according to Maldita website, the person speaks in an accent from the Persian Gulf, not from Palestine.
However, as the Danish portal Tjekdet found out, the audio is not authentic. In fact, it is a popular sound clip in Arab countries, which is often used in comedy productions on TikTok. Many examples of its use can be found here. Therefore, audio analysis of the video does not provide an answer to where the recording comes from. However, it reveals an interesting clue. Considering the context of the sound added to the video, the author probably treated the video of children locked in cages as a form of a joke. Therefore, there is a good chance that there is no dark story behind the recording.
Children in the cages were in fact kidnapped by Israel?
Another narrative that can also be found on social media is the one claiming that the children seen in the video came from Palestine. According to some Internet users, they were kidnapped by Israeli soldiers. So, we are dealing with a narrative reversal.
One example of spreading the above information is the @OCanonist account. First, it shared a video that fit into the narrative about kidnapped Israeli children. However, a few minutes later, it recanted its words and published a correction, according to which the recordings showed Palestinian children kidnapped by Israel. Evidence of this would be a video on YouTube entitled “Palestinian Children Locked in Cages”.
However, this recording has already been deleted from the platform. As noted by the Check Your Fact website, an archived link is still available and it shows that the video was first posted in January 2020. Unfortunately, it can no longer be played. However, a preview has been preserved, which can be viewed by dragging the cursor over the playback bar. It clearly shows that the popular video discussed in this article was not part of the YouTube video. Therefore, there is no evidence that the kids in cages are Palestinian children kidnapped by Israeli soldiers.
Origins of the video
We decided to check whether the video clip is actually up to date and presents current events. A reverse Google search showed us that a screenshot of the TikTok video in question has been circulating online. It was shared, among others, by the Israeli account @FakeReporter dealing with the fight against disinformation. The screenshot indicated that the TikTok video most likely appeared no later than Wednesday, 4 October. This conclusion could be drawn from the fact that the film began to be shared en masse on 8 October, and the information on the screenshot indicated that it had appeared 4 days earlier. The Hamas attack took place on Saturday, 7 October.
The Spanish fact-checking website Maldita found out that the video was uploaded on TikTok by user @user6903068251281. However, both the original video and the account disappeared from the platform shortly after the material was published. Fortunately, the account returned to the platform on 11 October in the evening. The owner of the profile turned out to be a young man from the Gaza Strip. He told the fact-checking website Kashif that he added a video in which he explained that the children seen in cages in the video are members of his family, and he posted it a few days before the Hamas attack. This is the final proof that we are not dealing with kidnapped Israeli children and that the video itself was a joke.
The flood of information coming from the Israeli-Palestinian border makes it difficult to verify individual content. In such situations, videos on social media often become a carrier of disinformation. In the case of the recording in question, we know that it was published before the Hamas attack. Its author clearly indicated that the video was humorous. The people visible in it are actually members of his family. Therefore, they cannot be either Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas or Palestinian children kidnapped by Israel.