Israel Reportedly Used Fake Social Media to Influence US Over Gaza War

Why Trust Techopedia
Key Takeaways

  • Israel reportedly used fake social media accounts to influence US politicians.
  • It reportedly urged lawmakers to keep funding the war against Hamas in Gaza.
  • Manipulation campaigns have existed on both sides.

Israel allegedly used fake social media accounts to persuade US politicians to fund its military while it fights Hamas in Gaza, according to The New York Times.

The country’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs reportedly used “hundreds” of bogus accounts pretending to be Americans on Facebook, Instagram, and X. The fake users targeted Black Democrats in particular, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock.

The effort is said to be run by Stoic, a political marketing company in Tel Aviv. The initiative is still understood to be active on X and using ChatGPT to produce content, including three fake news sites with pro-Israel material.

Meta and OpenAI both issued reports last week saying they’d cracked down on Stoic influence efforts. Meta said it had removed 510 Facebook accounts,  32 Instagram accounts, 11 Facebook pages and a Facebook group that had all backed the Israel military campaign in Gaza. OpenAI alleged that Stoic used its generative AI to create content both boosting Israel and attacking both Hamas and Qatar.

News of the influence strategy comes weeks after US began reconsidering its funding. President Biden warned in May that he wouldn’t provide weaponry to Israel if it launched a full-scale invasion of Rafah.

Social media manipulation isn’t unique to Israel in the Gaza conflict.  Pro-Hamas accounts have falsely linked footage from the Syrian civil war and other events to the ongoing fight, for instance. Companies like Meta and X have removed hundreds of accounts and their content in response.

If accurate, however, the new report suggests that social network influence campaigns in the Gaza war come from multiple sources on both sides, including official channels in Israel. They also underscore how online manipulation and misinformation have become weapons used to rally political support.