AI image passed off as Banksy’s artwork on the ‘murder of journalists in Gaza’

By: Anurag Baruah
February 13 2024

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AI image passed off as Banksy’s artwork on the ‘murder of journalists in Gaza’


The Verdict Fake

The image was created by Hassan Ragab, an Egyptian designer/artist, using generative AI technology, and is unrelated to street artist Banksy.

Claim ID 0acf7513

What's the claim?

An image showing a man nailed to a cross, wearing what seems to be a press jacket and helmet with multiple cameras of various sizes in his possession, is circulating on social media. It is being shared to claim that the image shows a recent piece of work by street artist and political activist Banksy on the "murder of journalists in Gaza." 

Screenshots of Facebook posts claiming image is latest artwork by Banksy on Israel-Hamas conflict. (Source: Screenshots/Facebook/Altered by Logically Facts)

Multiple social media users from the U.K. posted the photo on Facebook with this claim. 

However, the image was AI-generated by an Egyptian artist, Hassan Ragab. 

What we found

A reverse image search led us to an X post by Hassan Ragab, published on December 25, 2023. Ragab describes himself as an "Egyptian Designer/Artist in California." The post reported the viral image was not an actual photo but digital artwork created using AI. The post spoke about the record number of journalists killed in Gaza since October 7, 2023, when the conflict started. 

We also located the same post by Hassan on his official Instagram account. 

Parametric Architecture, an online platform for parametric design in architecture, wrote an article about Ragab and his work, describing him as "an interdisciplinary designer with an architectural and computational design background who is highly interested in visual arts." It added that Ragab uses AI text-to-image generators, focusing on Midjourney as the primary tool to create digital art. 

What did the creator of the image say?

Logically Facts contacted Ragab, who said, "I have become somewhat accustomed to my work being misinterpreted and the narrative changing through social media, whether people claim my AI-generated works as actual buildings or attribute them to another artist—though I've never been associated with a name as significant as Banksy."

Ragab pointed out that he had already begun his caption with a disclaimer that the image in question was created using AI. He said: "Social media is doomed with things getting out of hand, especially with a controversial post." Ragab clarified that he used several generative AI tools for this artwork, but the main tool was Midjourney. 

He also explained the intention of the post, which he felt got lost in social media: "This post is a reminder of the importance of keeping journalists safe, especially those whose only agenda is to deliver a true, untainted picture to the world, even if the reality is horrific." 

Moreover, Pest Control, the organization known for authenticating Banksy's works, told Reuters that the viral image has nothing to do with the street artist whose remains anonymous. 

Journalists in the Israel-Hamas conflict

The Israel-Hamas conflict started on October 7, 2023. As of February 12, 2024, a preliminary investigation by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) showed that at least 85 journalists and media workers have been killed as a result. This rate, amounting to "about five journalists a week," is reportedly the highest since the CPJ started record-keeping around 30 years ago. 

The verdict

The creator of the viral image, Hassan Ragab, confirmed to Logically Facts that the image in question was created using generative AI technology. Pest Control, the organization known for authenticating Banksy's works, has also confirmed that the image has no connection to Banksy. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before