They wouldn't do that now, the Israelis? Or would they? Hmmm...
Facebook has uncovered a major Israeli campaign to influence politics and elections in countries around the world.
The social media giant announced on Thursday that it had removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts with a combined following of 2.8 million users for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
“This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia,” Facebook stated.
Those operating the network falsely “represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians” as well as about “elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents.”
Facebook said that the “individuals behind this network attempted to conceal their identities,” but the company’s investigation linked some back to “an Israeli commercial entity” called the Archimedes Group.
Bigger than Russiagate
According to Facebook, the Israeli influence campaign spent more than $800,000 on fake ads since 2012 – eight times more than what a Russian troll farm is said to have spent on social media ads, mostly after the 2016 US election, an insignificant intervention that US politicians and pundits who supported Hillary Clinton hyped as equivalent to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Nor is it the only example:
But this operation is far from the only covert Israeli effort to influence and sabotage politics and activism around the world.
Facebook’s announcement that it shut down the Archimedes operation comes just days after Facebook-owned WhatsApp revealed that it had patched a critical vulnerability that Israeli espionage firm NSO Group was using to install spyware on people’s smartphones.