Middle East Monitor / December 6, 2019
US Democratic Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have been subjected to far-right, Islamophobic fake news that is being composed and spread on Facebook by an Israeli group, reported The Guardian.
The investigation revealed how 21 far-right Facebook pages were used to disseminate the hate-fuelled disinformation to more than one million followers across the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Austria, Israel and Nigeria.
The Israel-based scheme was organised by Israelis for the purpose of gaining a profit from digital advertising
Left-wing politicians were also targeted during critical points in national election campaigns, after false stories about the UK Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, were posted on the Facebook pages.
The paper said that the social media posts “inflame Islamophobia for profit” and have directly mentioned Omar more than 1,400 times, and Tlaib nearly 1,200 times as attempts to smear the US politicians, since the campaign began two years ago.
In a statement, Omar said foreign interference is a grave threat to democracy and that “these are malicious actors operating in a foreign country, Israel, spreading misinformation and hate speech to influence elections in the United States.”
She told The Guardian: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Facebook’s complacency is a threat to our democracy.”
“It has become clear that they do not take seriously the degree to which they provide a platform for white nationalist hate and dangerous misinformation in this country and around the world.”
“And there is a clear reason for this,” Omar added, “they profit off it.”
Tech giant Facebook told The Guardian that it has taken down many of the identified posts and accounts for using misinformation to generate advertising revenue – but failed to address the hateful nature of the posts.
Earlier this year, they became the first members of the US Congress to be banned from entering Israel with US President Donald Trump said that the state would show “great weakness” if it let them in.