• Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Twitter Removes Fake Profiles Creating Fiction ahead of Israeli Election

Oct 22, 2022

With the elections in Israel just around the corner, Twitter disclosed that a network comprising of about 40 fake accounts had recently been removed from the micro-blogging website.

These accounts were being used for trying and affecting political discourse in the country and to boost tensions amongst right-wing voters.

The network

An Israeli initiative called FakeReporter had exposed the network, which has been founded for the purpose of identifying and exposing disinformation online, along with other ‘malicious activity’.

According to the group, foreign entities were operating the network in order to interfere in the November 1st elections in Israel and to stir friction amongst the people.

In order to accomplish this, the fake accounts had mostly focused on Itamar Ben Gvir, the far-right politician.

The content being promoted was aimed at supporting him in running separately from Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of Religious Zionism.

The report also stated that the network also showed a great deal of familiarity with the Israeli political system, considering the timing of its operation just ahead of the September 15th deadline of submitting party slates.

The report

According to FakeReporter, MK Itamar Ben Gvir had been the focus of the network. Not only did they comment on his posts and showed their support, they also promoted the idea of him running alone.

This was done with the purpose of separating him from Bezalel Smotrich. The content promoted by the profiles included calling on the MK one day befor the deadline to run separately.

It added that there was evidence of non-Israeli actors running the network because the fake profiles that were involved in the network posted content in Hebrew with numerous grammatical and spelling mistakes.

The profiles that were created by the network were that of Jewish males and they used photographs of actual Israelis.

FakeReporter said that they were able to portray themselves as genuine profiles by sharing caricatures, hashtags as well as photographs.

These belonged to satire accounts that can be found on Telegram. FakeReporter further said that the exposure of the accounts had become at a time when they were still in their early stages.

The group said that some of these fake accounts had also started liking posts of another MK named Tamar Zandberg of the Meretz party. All of the fake accounts have been removed.

Other attempts

There have similar attempts been made in the past for spreading misinformation in Israelis and FakeReporter has exposed them as well.

According to the group, it had discovered a campaign back in April that was aimed at tarnishing the image of Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The campaign had intended to use his hacked cellphone for promoting content on Telegram. It had been determined that a group of Iranian hackers had been behind the campaign.

They had already tried to intervene in the past via Facebook. Reports indicate that foreign attempts for intervening in the elections of a country usually originate in China, Iran and Russia.

Their goal is not to support a particular candidate, but to promote issues for exacerbating tensions.

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