Facebook demands Netanyahu stop collecting users’ info — report
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Facebook demands Netanyahu stop collecting users’ info — report

Social media giant said to warn Likud party that chatbot questions in private messages are violating the platform’s policies

Graffiti on a wall in Jerusalem of a 'dislike' thurmbs-down sign, based on Facebook's thumbs-up 'like' sign. May 26,2011. (Sophie Gordon / Flash 90)
Graffiti on a wall in Jerusalem of a 'dislike' thurmbs-down sign, based on Facebook's thumbs-up 'like' sign. May 26,2011. (Sophie Gordon / Flash 90)

Facebook has contacted the Likud party and demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official Facebook page stop collecting information on users, Channel 12 news reported Monday.

The report said the social media giant complained about a data-gathering chatbot that automatically sends messages to users interacting with Netanyahu’s page, in violation of the social media platform’s policies.

The chatbot sends a private message designed to look like a personal message from Netanyahu himself, asking users questions such as whether they intend to vote Likud in the April 9 Knesset elections.

Facebook demanded that Likud immediately stop the practice, but Netanyahu is continuing to employ it, the report said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, on March 17, 2019. (Marc Israel Sellem)

The Likud campaign manager responded by saying the party “does not comment on the campaign activity.”

Facebook declined to comment on the report.

Last week, Facebook announced that it was rolling out its political advertisement transparency tool, in a move to curb fake news and foreign intervention in the Israeli elections.

The tool forces the sponsors of ads to identify themselves publicly and is meant to ensure that all such advertisers are Israeli.

It is aimed at preventing a rerun of 2016, when the tech giant was blamed for failing to stop Russian meddling in the US presidential election.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced it was partnering with an Israeli fact-checking organization to help reduce misinformation and improve the quality of news featured on its platform.

Sue Surkes contributed to this report.

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