The prevalence of Fake News in the Israeli politics – Cyabra – האם יש פייק ניוז בפוליטיקה הישראלית


“The right-wing regime is in danger…” “What are the negotiations really about…?” “I trust that the Israeli people can tell the difference…” In 2018, can money change our political views? And switch our support from one candidate to another? “We have a system that analyzes social media…” “But that product costs a lot of money.” Do you promote campaigns?
-No, we work with governments. -With? Governments? The companies who know how to do this are almost impossible to penetrate. They don’t say a word before a Non-Disclosure Agreement is signed. “I’m looking for a company that can enhance my influence on social media.” “With us it’s…”
-“What?” “It’s very discreet” Social media is already filled with fictitious accounts, Created by organizations with ulterior motives, commercial or political. These guys, mostly intelligence corps graduates, Know how to catch them in the act. “We see something a bit suspicious; no profile or cover photos, no friends.” “They only comment on political posts”. Meet Cyabra. They developed an algorithm that can identify fake accounts online. The algorithm uses data from each profile, Like the picture, number of friends, their link analysis and the nature of the comments And eventually gives each user a score, determining if they’re real or fake. “Find out what’s real and what isn’t” “not only when it comes to identities, but to prevent the snowball effect.” Only a month ago Netanyahu created a storm when he annouced a deal with the UN, To remove 14,000 refugees from Israel and keep 16,000. 2,600 comments were posted on Netanyahu’s Facebook post Using 1761 accounts. Cyabra’s scan found 121 fake accounts A total of 7% of all comments. 7% may not sound like much to you, But even one fake comment, especially if spreading disinformation, Can start a heated debate online. This profile doesn’t only create a debate in his comments, but creates engagement on his own page. Most of this activity is generated by automatic systems. A system or a dashboard create and manage fake accounts for you, It also creates content that each of these users spreads. In another post Netanyahu shared a text written about him by journalist Yedidya Meir: “I want to start with a personal confession: I’m a big Bibi fan.” For example, out of 754 comments, 176 were flagged as suspicious A total of 23%, almost a quarter of all comments. One comment attacks the police; “So obvious that the unprofessional Israeli Police, motivated by foreign interests, would try to control our government.” Another fake user spotted by Cyabra writes: “There will be no better leader, at least until the Messiah comes, hopefully soon.” How many of the comments on Netanyahu’s posts that you scanned are fake, in your opinion? -At least 15% are completely fake, -And maybe even up until 30% -Are suspicious profiles, that raise questions, -That maybe they are fake. And it’s always in support of Netanyahu? Or maybe even trying to hurt him? -It’s mostly in support of the PM, -We recognize not only support of Bibi, -But also anti-left comments and engagement. -Attacking the “leftist” media and all kinds of organizations -Attacking those who oppose Netanyahu. -It’s not really glorifying Netanyahu himself. Netanyahu is not the only one, although he does have the most popular page, Naturally attracting all kinds of individuals and organizations from both sides. In a post by Yesh Attid leader Yair Lapid about the Israel Prize, Out of 876 comments, 43 are suspected as fake, A total of 5%. One of these comments reads: “You are an inciter and instigator, and you have the audacity to speak like that about the Prime Minister.” In the latest elections worldwide Social media played a significant part. Information that was spread at the right moment and to the right people Made all the difference. “Homeland” writers had a lot of real-life material to go by When they tried to show how fake users create real engagement online. Debates and conversations that reach real people very fast. One of the most active MP’s online is Amir Ohana from the Likud. On a post from his page that was scanned by Cyabra, 5% of the active users were labeled fictitious. “I don’t know how many friends he has, but I know we have 12 mutual friends.” -And you know them?
-“Yes, and so do you. You know Guy Levy.” -“Should we call him?” We asked MP Ohana to see if he knows that users suspected to be fake. “Do you see a sunset? Is his photo a sunset?” -“Yes, a picture of a sunset.”
-“OK” “So you personally know him or don’t you?” -“No.”
-“No.” One of the users that received a very low score from the algorithm, Among other reasons for having a low number of friends, Turned out to be a real, live person. “Salit Gotlib, she’s a friend of yours on Facebook, do you know her?” -“Salit Gotlib.”
-“Salit? Sure. Sure.” -“So you know her!”
-“Sure.” “I don’t think everyone has the time and the ability to go check” “What comment is authentic, who’s real and who’s not,” “So sure, there’s a probability that some percentage of comments and likes would be from fake accounts.” “And yes, they do influence people.” But what are the odds that a real person is behind an account you flag as fake? “There’s always a chance.” “It’s certainly possible that this is a real person,” “Who might feel more comfortable behind a fake identity,” “But with such a large amount of fake users,” “Even if a specific account is operated by a real person,” “It is still in the context and frame of a larger statistic of dozens of users.” So social media can confuse everyone, even algorithms. But for the right amount of money, some companies Will do it without leaving any fingerprints. “If I have a client overseas who wants to be elected to a public position, they come to me a year or 2 in advance.” “Our system knows who is pro and who is against, we have a team, and then it’s a mater of influence”. “We influence; “did you hear, did you know, did you see?”” And listen closely to how it’s done. “We have teams, every team has between 5-6 members, depending on the project, and a project manager.” “They have targets, every day it’s between 40-50 tweets per day.” -“And what does it look like to a real person seeing it online?” “To them it seems like a normal user, they don’t think it’s a company. Just like you, talking to your friend – like that.” Good morning. Meet Shai Agiv, one of the only people willing to go on camera and tell us how this works. “I want to influence or see what happened with the public discourse” “Revolving Miri Regev and the Day of Independence.” “So we go on our Facebook promotion dashboard,” “We put under ‘interests’ anything that has to do with the Likud party,” “We actually put in the word ‘independence’, yes,” “The system, the graphs, show me that 190,000 people” “That are involved with this discourse,” “And I can tell Facebook: ‘take these 190,000 people “And show them content or messaging that I want to expose them to.” The problem starts when all of these sophisticated systems spread fake news or false information. “The danger of fake news is very significant, “because it’s usually designed in such a smart way,” “a synthesis of real facts and fake news.” “And the research itself can only really be done” “in the aftermath, after the result has already been set by the fake news.” But the dramatic change is in the politicians’ ability to track us down online. Just like a clothing store or a real-estate company, That chase us to eventually insert a credit card number, Politicians can chase us until we finally change our opinions of them. “We call it ‘conversion rate’.” “How well I can convert you to my way of thinking or to my desirable action.” This way, you’ll see different articles from different mobile devices, Without knowing there’s a reason behind it. “For every issue or subject, they know what your stand is” “And if they don’t, they’ll prepare 2 options; for pro or con.” “They will lead you through commercials and ads, on Facebook and on other platforms,” “With ideas and messages relating to it.” “If you comment on or react to a certain message,” “We now know how to move on to the next checkpoint.” “If you’re not showing any interest – I’ll come at you from a different angle.” “But these routes, in some way or another,” “either ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and so forth, left and right,” “I’m making sure that you get to where I want you to go.” So the sky is the limit. In our world there are computerized systems that allow organizations to target us directly with their messages, That are based on the same semantics that we ourselves use online. Money is the name of the game, and we’re all pawns on the board.

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