Israel asks Twitter to remove 128 fake accounts promoting incitement

The activity was linked in particular to possible war crimes suits against Israel at the International Criminal Court and the potential pending plans to annex West Bank settlements.

A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this illustrative picture (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this illustrative picture
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
The Strategic Affairs Ministry has asked Twitter to shut down 128 fake accounts that it charged had incited against Israel.
The activity was linked in particular to possible war crimes suits against Israel at the International Criminal Court and the potential pending plans to annex West Bank settlements, the ministry said.  
It addition, the ministry asked the company to remove 42 account that it accused of trolling and inciting.
“Over a two-month period this past summer, we identified over 170 accounts as bots or trolls aimed at creating inflated public criticism of Israel,” Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen said in letter.
She wrote that the tweets were part of an “orchestrated campaign to delegitimize Israel.”
During a 48-hour period, for example, some 15,000 tweets were issued under the hashtag #ICC4Israel, Farkash-Hacohen said, adding that half of those were out in a mere four hours.
“Inauthentic accounts tweeted thousands of these messages, with a third of these tweets produced by three bot networks,” she said.
“As you are aware, the problem with such inauthentic behavior – beyond the abuse of the integrity of the platform – is the manipulation of the public discourse in a way that promotes incitement, hate and animosity. In this case, toward the State of Israel and its citizens,” Farkash-Hacohen wrote.

The ministry provided Twitter with a list of the problematic accounts. It also highlighted many of them in a report on the issue it sent to the media on Tuesday.
An infographic on the efforts to deligitimize Israel (Courtesy: Ministry of Strategic Affairs)An infographic on the efforts to deligitimize Israel (Courtesy: Ministry of Strategic Affairs)
One account, with a potential reach of 3.1 million people, “posted over 55,000 tweets over a 5-month period, averaging 11,000 tweets per month, averaging 370 tweets every day,” the ministry wrote. The account logged in from several countries simultaneously and used as its “profile features a widely used picture found on the Internet – raising further suspicion regarding the account’s authenticity,” the ministry said.
Some of the profiles use exact wording. In 13 of them, the authors described themselves in this way, “I'm a Palestinian activist based in #Gaza Strip. I’m a volunteer of Palestinian Voices Organization. One day #Palestine will be free PS,” the ministry explained. Another 17 used these words, "Palestinian activist based in #Gaza. I'm working to show the truth of our Palestinian cause. Volunteer @CharitySafaa.”
In addition, the ministry noted, the multiple tweets were posted by accounts that used the same wording and photos.
Twitter is investigating the report.