Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Facebook on Tuesday after the social network blocked a “chatbot” from his right-wing Likud party’s account for violating election day rules, reports Reuters.
The function, a type of automated software that simulates a conversation with a user, was running again within a few hours.
On a video posted on social media, Netanyahu said:
“They took a 100 kg hammer and brought it down on a fly because it is a Likud fly. They shut down our means of communication with our voters.”
Netanyahu broke election laws!Facebook blocks PM's racist messaging that Arabs are voting in droves…so he turns to Trump’s strategy…complaining of Palestinian voter fraud.
Seems right-wing block fails to get 61 seat majority — meaning, Lieberman is yet again the kingmaker. pic.twitter.com/UBsxBAMuJL
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) September 17, 2019
Israel’s Central Elections Committee said the chatbot had been used to publish poll data in contravention of regulations.
Netanyahu appeared to play down the violation, saying:
“Someone published a small poll on Facebook.”
The problematic posts were apparently taken down and no longer appeared on his Facebook page.
מצב חירום – איילה חסון אמרה שהליכוד בסכנה. עמית סגל אמר שהמגזר הערבי מצביע בהמוניו. שידור חי
Posted by Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו on Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Netanyahu, who is battling for his political career, has been trying to mobilize his base by warning them of low supporter turnout.
Asked about its intervention on Netanyahu’s account, Facebook said in a statement it works with “elections commissions around the world to help protect the integrity of elections”.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 17, 2019
“Our policies clearly state developers are required to comply with all applicable laws in the country where their app is available. We have restricted this bot for violating local law until the polling stations are closed tonight.”
Clearing the way for Facebook to reinstate the chatbot, Judge Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Israeli Central Elections Committee, said he received an assurance from Likud that no further poll data would be published on it.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)