Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Arabs' Displayed Kidnapped Jewish Children In Cages -- Video Predates 2023 Hamas Conflict

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Arabs' Displayed Kidnapped Jewish Children In Cages -- Video Predates 2023 Hamas Conflict Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Arabs' Displayed Kidnapped Jewish Children In Cages -- Video Predates 2023 Hamas Conflict Pre-Conflict

Was a video of Jewish children held in animal cages posted to social media by "Arab" captors in order to show them off as trophies? No, that's not true: this video was posted on TikTok days before the Hamas attacks in Israel but by October 8, 2023 the video and the account that posted it were gone from TikTok. Screenshots from before the takedown show the video was already four days old -- meaning the video was posted on TikTok at least two days before Hamas' invasion of Israel, when militants took civilians and soldiers hostage. The original video was also posted with a popular TikTok hashtag and audio track unrelated with the conflict or kidnappings, suggesting that it was a part of a TikTok trend.

A video of five children in a poultry cage was posted on Facebook Watch by Data Loop News on October 8, 2023 (archived here). It opened:

Arabs show trophies. I am sure that these Jewish children will be sold profitably on slave markets in the Middle East, of which there are a huge number.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Oct 9 20:45:36 2023 UTC)

The video was originally posted to TikTok by the account "@user6903068251281", Both the account and the video were no longer on TikTok at the time of writing. The video was captioned with a satirical Arabic language hashtag and seven crying laughing emojis. The post text, translated by Google reads:

Oppressed in my country

Because the video had already been removed, Lead Stories can not independently verify what day it was posted on TikTok, but two different screenshots of the video found on October 8, 2023, both show that the video was four days old at the time those screenshots were taken. One screenshot, with the faces of the children blurred (below left) was shared on X by the fact checking account @FakeReporter on October 8, 2023 . The FakeReporter post caption below was translated from Hebrew by Google:

Please note: during these hours a video of children in a cage is being circulated and it is claimed that these are kidnapped Israeli children. This is an old video that was published at least four days ago - as you can see in the photo. There is no shortage of horrors on the internet, and child abuse is not acceptable at any time - but in this case it is a fake. Please stop sharing the video.

A second screenshot (below right) was found by Lead Stories in the comments of a now-deleted post on Facebook. This screenshot shows the same video, but the TikTok formatting is reversed, the person sharing the screenshot was also drawing attention to the date stamp highlighting the video was already four days old. The Hebrew caption at the bottom of this screenshot, as translated by Google, reads:

Please add a comment...
A video that is currently circulating on social networks supposedly of kidnapped Israeli children: fake news


(Image source: TikTok screenshots collected from from X and Facebook on Sun Oct 08 15:12:38 2023 UTC)

The hashtag included on the original posting of this video in Arabic "الشعب الصيني_ماله_حل#‏" translates literally to "The Chinese people have no solution." To Arabic speakers the satirical phrase means, "You can't fix them." The hashtag is not derogatory, but shows admiration of the resourcefulness of Chinese people. It is used by Arabic speakers when sharing content that is funny or silly on TikTok. Search results for the hashtag on TiKTok can be found (here) and show a wide variety of video themes. Lead Stories identified the laughing audio track that was added to the video of the caged kids (here, here and here) and also found several videos (here and here) which are unrelated to that video posted with the same hashtag and laughing audio track -- suggesting this is a typical formula for a video intended to be funny. The original post does not suggest the children are Israeli, kidnapped, hostages or for sale and there is no evidence that is the case.

Lead Stories has not been able to verify the identity of the children or the location where the video was filmed. There do appear to be several live chickens housed in the lower cages. The video was posted to TikTok as late as October 5, 2023 and could have been filmed at any time earlier than that. Some captions on copies of the video (example here) claim that it originated in Syria in 2015 but Lead Stories has not been able to find any supporting evidence of Syrian origins.

Other Lead Stories articles on claims pertaining to the 2023 Israel-Hamas conflict are here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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