Fake Twitter handle claims Netanyahu purchased Kardashian estate - report

The Twitter account @irwstudents, which operates under the name "Israeli Right-Wing Students," is sending politicians and journalists in Israel a link to a fake story.

February 28, 2019 14:25
2 minute read.
Fake Twitter profile

Fake Twitter profile. (photo credit: screenshot)


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The Twitter account @irwstudents, which operates under the name "Israeli Right-Wing Students," is sending politicians and journalists in Israel a link to a fake story that the Netanyahu family bought the estate of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

Clicking on the article leads to an error page, the ministry said. The site is under review to ensure that this is not a phishing attempt. It is advisable not to click on the link.
“This is definitely a disinformation attempt since the ID of this twitter account (1078207107705569280) is under monitoring,” the ministry stated. “Until a few days ago, the account was operated under the username @LucyDayan1, the profile name 'Lucy Dayan' and the 'Family & friends | design | interior | food | travel | digital | politics.' Its operators have changed the name for this operation.”

In January, the Foreign Ministry and tech company Commun.it launched a program to share information about social media accounts spreading disinformation, which spiked since early elections were announced.

At that time, the ministry said that journalists were targeted in five attempts by foreign Twitter accounts to spread fake news stories in the Israeli media.
In all of the cases, an account that looked like it came from Europe contacted Israeli journalists with the fake story, in an attempt to give it legitimacy. Each account was connected to hundreds of “bots” – Twitter accounts run by robots, not by individual people, who made the account contacting the journalists look like a real account by following it and retweeting and liking its tweets.

Last week, The Jerusalem Post learned that more than 400 Twitter accounts belonging to at least six different “foreign manipulation networks” trying to skew political opinion in Israel have been suspended since elections were called at the end of December.

A senior Foreign Ministry official told the Post that the ministry set up a high-level channel with Twitter authorities in San Francisco led by Noam Katz, the ministry’s deputy director-general for public diplomacy. 
“This channel facilitates the ongoing exchange of incriminating [big] data related to networks of Twitter bots, sockpuppets and impersonating accounts directly between the forensic R&D unit of the ministry and the teams responsible for system integrity at Twitter San Francisco,” the official said.

Yaakov Katz, Lahav Harkov and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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