New ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ Image Goes Viral But This Time It’s a Real Photo

An aerial view of a large crowed surrounding multiple stretchers covered with white shrouds. Text overlay reads, "ALL EYES ON RAFAH. We all shared the AI image. Now let's share the real image." An Instagram sticker with "Add yours" is at the bottom.

After an AI image depicting displaced Palestinians with the slogan “All Eyes on Rafah” went extremely viral on Instagram this week, social media users are now encouraging a real photo to be shared.

The original “All Eyes on Rafah” image came in for some criticism because it was AI-generated. Aside from the issues around how AI models were built, Deobrah Brown of the Human Rights Watch Group questions why a fake image was shared over 40 million times when there are real images out there showing the bloody consequences of war.

A vast desert landscape with clustered parked vehicles forming the large words "ALL EYES ON RAFAH," stretching from the foreground to the background. Snow-capped mountains rise in the distance under a partly cloudy sky.

“People have been posting really graphic and disturbing content to raise awareness and that gets censored while a piece of synthetic media goes viral, it is disturbing,” Brown tells the Los Angeles Times.

What is the New ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ Photo?

Now a new image is being shared but this time it is a real photo showing the sickening sight of wrapped bodies killed in a bombing raid. The new image has already been shared close to two million times as of writing.

An aerial view of a large, somber crowd gathering around several bodies covered with white sheets. The center text reads, "ALL EYES ON RAFAH." A note at the bottom mentions, "We all shared the AI image. Now let’s share the real image." The post was shared by user gretathunberg.

The graphic photo has been shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg with the “All Eyes on Rafah” slogan still present but with an added piece of text that reads. “We all shared the AI image. Now let’s share the real image.”

However, the photo has been falsely attributed to a recent Israeli airstrike on a camp for displaced Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah which killed 45 people. The photo was in fact taken on December 25 last year by photographer Ahmad Salem outside of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza.

How Did ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ Start?

The original AI-generated image was shared over 47 million times with the “All Eyes on Rafah” line coming from Richard Peeperkorn, a representative of the World Health Organization, when he was speaking to journalists back in February warning against Israeli forces attacking Rafah. The BBC reports that the AI image was originally posted to a small Instagram account belonging to a young boy in Malaysia.

A large crowd of people is forming the shape of the words "ALL EYES ON RAFAH" in a desert area. The text "Can we road to 50M? Don't Stop Spread" is written above. The image also includes a social media interface showing a post with views and the option to add to the story.

However, the image came under criticism for being fake and lacking any actionable information. Some have called in “slactivism.”

Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Daniel Etter took to Instagram to denounce the image for looking nothing like Gaza.

“Gaza is not a sanitized AI-generated landscape with snow-capped mountains. It doesn’t look like Burning Man,” he writes.

“It’s collapsed buildings with bodies buried. It’s burnt tents and trash and human remains. You’ll remember the smell forever if you smelt it once.”

Image credits: Ahmad Salem via Greta Thunberg.