Israel covertly uses fake social media to sway U.S. lawmakers on Gaza war

Israel covertly uses fake social media to sway U.S. lawmakers on Gaza war

Israel's Ministry of Diaspora Affairs conducted a covert influence campaign last year, aimed at U.S. lawmakers and the American public with pro-Israel messaging, according to officials and documents. The campaign, which cost approximately $2 million, was executed by Stoic, a political marketing firm based in Tel Aviv. At its peak, the campaign utilized hundreds of fake accounts posing as real Americans on social media platforms such as X, Facebook, and Instagram to post pro-Israel comments. These efforts were particularly directed towards Black lawmakers and Democrats, urging them to support continued funding for Israel's military.

The operation is the first documented case of the Israeli government organizing a campaign to influence the U.S. government. The campaign was uncovered by Israeli disinformation watchdog FakeReporter in March. It primarily targeted U.S. lawmakers and young progressives, focusing on influencing public opinion on Israel's conduct in the Gaza conflict. Social media experts have criticized the campaign, labeling it as reckless and potentially ineffective. The social media platforms involved have since taken action to stop the operation.

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