Facebook suspends Likud election bot, accuses it of hate speech

Facebook accuses Likud of 'hate speech' with automated election post claiming Arabs 'want to destroy us'.



Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party was found Thursday to have violated
Facebook's hate-speech policy after a post from his account saying Arabs "want to destroy us all".

Israeli media reported that the post which said Israeli Arabs "want to destroy us all -- women, children and men" appeared on Netanyahu's official Facebook page and was subsequently removed by Likud.

"After careful review of the Likud campaign's bot activities, we found a violation of our hate speech policy," a Facebook statement said, referring to an automated chat function.

"We also found that the bot was misusing the platform in the time period allowed to contact people. As a result, we temporarily suspended the bot for 24 hours. Should there be any additional violations, we will continue to take appropriate action."

A Likud spokesman told AFP that the freeze went into effect Thursday morning and would not affect the party's online election campaign.

Netanyahu, who is fighting an election battle for his political survival, said the message had nothing to do with him.

"It wasn't me. It was one of the workers at our election headquarters," he told Israeli public radio. "That mistake was fixed quickly."

"Think logically: Do you think I would really write such a thing?"

"I have friends in Arab countries and I have respect for human beings regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab, Muslim or Christian."