Social media can spread important updates about an international crisis such as the Israel-Hamas war, but it can also be a fountain for rampant misinformation. How can you wade through it all to understand what's happening?

Charlie Sennott, founder of the GroundTruth project, reported breaking news stories in the Middle East for several years. During an appearance Wednesday on GBH's Greater Boston, he shared an old saying: The first casualty of war is the truth. The difference now is speed.

"In an instant, the whole world can be told something that is wrong," Sennott said.

Sennott said we live in a "post-truth era," when emotions and ideologies can supersede facts.

Still, he said there's an opportunity for journalists to help. He learned from his own experience that journalists covering war should stay on the ground, only report what they know, and stick to tight journalistic standards when writing social media posts.

"We have to push back against the machine and all the algorithms that want to keep driving us to go faster and faster in our reporting," Sennott said.

As for people at home seeking information, Sennott suggested relying on trusted organizations, like public media and the New York Times, to provide the crucial historical context it takes to understand the Israel-Hamas war. He also recommended Thomas Friedman's book "From Beirut to Jerusalem."

"There's a lot of opportunities for us to learn online right now and understand this is a very complicated, layered history. Both sides have suffered greatly," Sennott said.

Watch: Why history matters when sorting through information about the Israel-Hamas war