Iran Behind Election-Meddling Bots

YERUSHALAYIM -

Iran would appear to be the culprit in the recent Shin Bet warning that an unnamed foreign power was planning to disrupt the upcoming Israeli elections through cyberattacks, according to a media report on Thursday.

Iran is behind hundreds of fake social media accounts in an attempt to meddle in Israel’s elections on April 9, according to Ynet, quoting the U.S.-based tech company Vocativ.

The company, founded by Israeli entrepreneur Mati Kochavi, alleges that popular social media platforms in Israel have been seeing increased activity by bots operated from the Islamic Republic aimed at shifting the focus of public discourse onto divisive issues.

Criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, social inequality, anti-democratic legislation, poverty, violence against women and more, are the issues that the bots are highlighting.

The estimated 350 fake accounts have a potential reach of 500,000 Israelis every month, the report says. Their activity significantly intensified after the December announcement of Knesset elections in April.

PM Netanyahu said earlier this week that Israel is facing “daily” cyber-attacks originating from Iran.