Facebook suspends Netanyahu's chat bot over hate speech

Benjamin Netanyahu

The bot sent out the message: we cannot have a dangerous left-wing government with Lapid, Odeh, Gantz and Liberman… A secular left-wing weak government that relies on Arabs who want to destroy us all.

Facebook today announced that behavior on the Facebook page of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in violation of the company's rules, and suspended the page's chat bot activity for 24 hours. Facebook explained that chat bot activity will be halted for 24 hours regardless of the content distributed on it. This means that all Likud campaign content will be blocked on Messenger, not just text that violates the company's rules.

Facebook said that text published on Netanyahu's Facebook page was "hate speech," and therefore violated company policy. Facebook Israel announced, "After careful review of the Likud campaign’s bot activities, we found a violation of our hate speech policy. We also found that the bot was misusing the platform in the time period allowed to contact people. As a result, we temporarily suspended the bot for 24 hours. Should there be any additional violations, we will continue to take appropriate action."

It was reported yesterday that Netanyahu's Facebook page had sent aggressive and inciting private text messages. Surfers who entered the Facebook page automatically received the following message, which appeared as a suggestion for persuading undecided voters in the elections: "I am calling you because on Tuesday, you can determine the future of our nation… we cannot have a dangerous left-wing government with Lapid, Odeh, Gantz and Liberman… A secular left-wing weak government that relies on Arabs who want to destroy us all - women, children and men, and will enable a nuclear Iran that will eliminate us." Netanyahu's chat bot is active with hundreds of thousands of accounts, so it is likely that very large numbers of surfers received the hate messages.

The Likud said that a campaign worker had been responsible for the message, which Netanyahu had not approved. "No, I didn't write that, I'm a serious person," Netanyahu told the Reshet Bet radio station. He accused the station of being a tool of cheap propaganda.

Facebook's announcement comes after Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh told Facebook that dangerous borders had been crossed. Odeh said today, " Yesterday, we contacted Facebook directly and demanded that they stop providing a platform for Netanyahu’s dangerous incitement. Today, we see the results. We defeated the camera project, and we will also defeat the incitement. It has had an effect."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 12, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Benjamin Netanyahu
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