A number of fake social media accounts were recently identified by the Foreign Ministry of Israel on various social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
These accounts were posing as the official accounts of Israeli diplomats in a number of countries around the world.
Up until now, the fake accounts that have been discovered belong to the consults and diplomats in countries like Romania, Finland, Ecuador, Albania, India and Uruguay.
The content that was uploaded by these fake accounts was mostly identical to the real accounts of the envoys, as their goal was to build credibility on the different social media networks.
David Saranga, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s digital diplomacy division, said that they had gotten in touch with the social media platforms and the fake accounts had been eliminated.
Saranga had until recently been serving as the country’s ambassador to Romania. The Foreign Ministry is concerned that other similar fake accounts may be sent personal inquiries.
This would be because people may want to speak with an Israeli official. The fake accounts seem to be almost indistinguishable from the real accounts.
Therefore, another concern associated with them is that they may begin to spread false information if they are not removed from the platforms.
The concerns and actions
The Foreign Ministry had conducted a conference for foreign diplomats who are based in Israel and digital diplomacy was the subject under which the information was disclosed.
According to officials, they are concerned that fake accounts could be used for hostile or subversive activity in the future.
There are also worries that they can damage the reputation of Israel’s Foreign Ministry in the eyes of the residents of foreign countries.
Due to the rise in the number of fake accounts, the Foreign Ministry’s security division instructed the heads of missions all over the globe to monitor and be attentive to any unusual activity.
The ministry had also organized workshops last Tuesday, the purpose of which were to increase awareness about the proper conduct that should be followed on social networks.
Employees all over the world were briefed about social media use by the security officials working at embassies.
There are currently 40 employees under Saranga who are responsible for running the accounts of the Foreign Ministry in several languages.
These accounts are based on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.
Saranga said that the forgery pattern was rather interesting. He said that they had opted to keep the activity and content completely identical to the original accounts.
He said that some had stolen pictures from Facebook and posted them on Twitter, or the content shared was parallel to the ambassador’s real activities.
Saranga asserted that the fraudulent accounts had attempted to develop a reliable profile, which could be for two reasons.
They could be trying to build credibility and trust, so misinformation can be disseminated later on, or it could be to lure people into contacting the profile’s owner.