Facebook announced on Thursday that it has suspended Likud’s access to automatic messaging for 24 hours.
The move comes after messages were sent from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official Facebook account which stated that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men.”
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Facebook said it took the action after determining that the content violated its policy on hate speech. It said further violations would be met by additional appropriate action.
After Haaretz reported on the message, Likud said that it had been the result of a staffer’s mistake and that the prime minister had not seen or authorized the message, which was removed from Netanyahu’s Facebook page.
In an interview with Kan Reshet Bet public radio on Thursday, Netanyahu disassociated himself form the anti-Arab content, which appeared in an automatic popup message on the screens of users who accessed the prime minister’s official Facebook page. “Think rationally. I am a serious person,” he told his radio interviewers. “I have friends in Arab countries. What is this nonsense?”
Users who accessed the chatbot content were urged to convince undecided voters to vote Likud in next Tuesday’s Knesset election.