With 9 days left to the election, an irregularity has been found where fake Twitter accounts being created to sway the outcome towards PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
A private Israeli investigation uncovered a network of allegedly false Twitter accounts that advertise for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his party, Likud, and defame rival candidates in next week’s elections.
The network has been uncovered by the Bit-Bots Project, a research group that studies the irregularities in social media networks by using an open crowdsourcing technique.
At the end of December, with the call for elections on April 9, these accounts, coordinated among themselves and multiplied their activity to “echo the issues of debate of Likud and Netanyahu, and spread poisonous propaganda, lies and slander against some media and candidates running for the Knesset” says the investigation.
These are hundreds of Twitter accounts managed by people who do not reveal their real name and who use profile images obtained from foreign databases.
Several other Twitter accounts detected are linked to senior Likud officials and Yair Netanyahu
One of the most active accounts is profiled as ‘Moshe’, sporting an image of a young man with blue eyes, beard and mustache that is actually a portrait of the Greek model Theo Theodoridis.
This account focuses on publishing on political issues, was created in March 2015 and, although it was barely active during 2018, its activity has increased in the first months of 2019, following the call for general elections.
Since then, it has published more than 2,500 tweets, including praise for Netanyahu and criticism of public figures who oppose the prime minister, says Yediot Aharonot.
“It is only a matter of time before the left converts to Islam,” Moshe wrote recently.
Other accounts linked to that user have further spread accusations against centrist candidate Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, of being a rapist and having mental problems.
Project Big-Bots asserts that the network’s activity could violate “election propaganda” and campaign finance laws, as well as tax or privacy laws.