Iranian social media bot army trying to affect Israeli elections — report

Iran is operating hundreds of fake social media accounts in an attempt to affect Israel’s parliamentary elections, according to a media report citing findings by a US-based tech company.

Vocativ, founded by Israeli entrepreneur Mati Kochavi, says in its new report that Israel’s Facebook, Twitter and Telegram scenes are seeing increased activity by bots operated from the Islamic Republic in an attempt to focus the discourse on divisive issues, the Ynet news site reports.

Those issues reportedly included sexual harassment in Israel, criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, social inequality, anti-democratic legislation, poverty, violence against women and more.

The estimated 350 fake accounts have a potential reach of 500,000 Israelis every month, the report says. Their activity has significantly intensified since the December announcement of Knesset elections on April 9.

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