Facebook Suspends Netanyahu’s Likud Party Bot for Hate Speech

Amy Teibel

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook has suspended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party chatbot for 24 hours for claiming Arabs are out to annihilate Jews.

The Hebrew-language message that appeared on Netanyahu’s official Facebook page on Wednesday called on voters to block the formation of a left-wing government that will rest on “Arabs who want to destroy us all -- women, children and men -- and allow a nuclearized Iran that will annihilate us,” the Haaretz newspaper said.

The post was later removed. Netanyahu told Israel Radio he wasn’t involved in the message, and that it was posted “mistakenly” by a campaign employee.

Netanyahu’s political messaging ahead of Israel’s Sept. 17 revote has included frequent warnings that his right-wing government is in danger of being toppled by a supposed left-wing coalition relying on the support of an Israeli Arab party. Such invective has figured prominently in his past three campaigns.

“After careful review of the Likud campaign’s bot activities, we found a violation of our hate speech policy,” Facebook said in a statement, media reported. The bot -- an automated chat function -- was suspended as of Thursday morning, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Teibel in Jerusalem at ateibel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Amy Teibel

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