US Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have been subjected to far-right, Islamophobic fake news that is being composed and spread on Facebook by an Israeli group, reported the Guardian.
The investigation revealed how 21 far-right Facebook pages were used to disseminate the hate-fuelled disinformation to more than one million followers across the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Austria, Israel and Nigeria.
Left-wing politicians were also targeted during critical points in national election campaigns, after false stories about the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, were posted on the Facebook pages.
A mysterious Israeli-based group used 21 Facebook pages to churn out more than a thousand coordinated fake news and Islamophobic posts per week to more than a million followers around the world — all to target Ilhan Omar & Rashida Tlaib. https://t.co/s2EV364ewn
— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) December 5, 2019
The paper said that the social media posts “inflame Islamophobia for-profit” and have directly mentioned Omar more than 1,400 times, and Tlaib nearly 1,200 times as attempts to smear the US politicians, since the campaign began two years ago.
In a statement, Omar said foreign interference is a grave threat to democracy and that “these are malicious actors operating in a foreign country, Israel, spreading misinformation and hate speech to influence elections in the United States.”
No surprise that the culprits spreading hate-fuelled, racist, fake news about Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar & Jeremy Corbyn are an israeli group pic.twitter.com/aUGTBRR2dH
— Reynad Ahmed (@ReynadAhmed2) December 6, 2019
She told The Guardian:
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Facebook’s complacency is a threat to our democracy. It has become clear that they do not take seriously the degree to which they provide a platform for white nationalist hate and dangerous misinformation in this country and around the world.”
While I was attacked, Facebook profited.
This piece reveals a disturbing new level of far right coordination which platforms Islamophobia, division and hatred towards Muslims and directs it at individuals like myself and @IlhanMN. https://t.co/Jaiv1UpuAO
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) December 5, 2019
Tech giant Facebook told the Guardian that it has taken down many of the identified posts and accounts for using misinformation to generate advertising revenue – but failed to address the hateful nature of the posts.
Both congresswomen Omar and Tlaib have been the target of bigoted rhetoric by US President Donald Trump and have received death threats from far-right white supremacists.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)