Facebook suspends Netanyahu chatbot for illegally publishing polls

Facebook suspends Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook chatbot — which engages visitors to the prime minister’s Facebook page — for the remainder of election day after it illegally shared polling information.

It is illegal to publicize polls in Israel in the run-up to elections.

A Facebook spokesperson says: “We’re working with elections officials around the world to help ensure the integrity of the elections. Our policy explicitly states that developers are required to obey all laws applicable in the country where their application is accessible. Therefore we’ve suspended the [Netanyahu] bot’s activity, in light of the violation of local law, until the close of the polls” at 10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Facebook had temporarily suspended the bot last week after it warned visitors of a possible “secular left-wing weak government that relies on Arabs who want to destroy us all — women, children and men.” Netanyahu has insisted he does not share that view of Arabs, and said the bot’s message wasn’t written by him.

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