JERUSALEM: An Israeli watchdog group said on Monday that it found a network of social media bots disseminating messages in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of next week’s elections.
Noam Rotem and Yuval Adam, two researchers operating the Big Bots Project, said in a report that they uncovered hundreds of fake accounts spreading messages in support of Netanyahu’s Likud party and smearing his opponents. Likud denied the allegations.
Adam said his project discovered a network that included a number of real people, along with hundreds of Twitter accounts that appeared to be fake or duplicate.
Adam said the Big Bots Project was financed through a crowdfunding programme. The project also includes researchers from Ben Gurion University’s Cyber Research Center and Tel Aviv University.
Israelis head to the polls in eight days in a close race between Netanyahu and his main rival, former army chief of staff Benny Gantz. Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office under the shadow of corruption charges.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2019