After Netanyahu Complains of Death Threat, Facebook Says Account Is Fake

Activist notes that fake account was set up days after Israel's March election

Oded Yaron
Josh Breiner
Jonathan Lis
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference about growing tension along Israel's northern border, July 27, 2020
Prime Minister Netanyahu at a press conference, July 27, 2020. Credit: Tal Shahar
Oded Yaron
Josh Breiner
Jonathan Lis

An account that had posted death threats to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was found to be fake and removed on Thursday, according to Facebook.

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Netanyahu said he filed a police complaint over a comment from the fake account, which wrote in awkward Hebrew that “Bibi needs to be removed by force only… Dictators can only be moved with a bullet to the head!”

The account, which carried the name of Dana Ron – a common Hebrew name – was deemed fake following “an inspection by our global teams abroad,” Facebook said in a statement. The company added that “the comment itself violates our policy on violence, and therefore was removed too.”

A screenshot from the Dana Ron fake account, which shared a video from the anti-Netanyahu protest alCredit: Screenshots from the account, which shared videos from the anti-Netanyahu protest and Japanese TV

Netanyahu aides responded to Facebook’s statement, arguing that “If it is indeed an anonymous account operated by people who are calling for murder of the prime minister, then it is just as severe. Police must track them down, bring them to justice and act with determination against the dozens of posts published daily that incite and threaten the prime minister and his family.” They also said the media was “shameful” for “concealing incitement, instead of unequivocally condemning it.”

In a post on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu accused Channel 12 of "continuing on the journey of divisiveness and fake news" during the coronavirus crisis and the Jewish day of mourning of Tisha B'Av.

"Today they added a new libel," it said, "as if the prime minister is behind a post calling for the murder of the prime minister. We are calling for the police's cybercrimes unit to immediately reveal the person behind this post. This lie will also become clear quickly, because for a long while, members of the right-wing have complained of the inciting profile of 'Dana Ron.'" It added, "Anyone who covers up incitement to murder the prime minister and his family – he is a partner to incitement."    

Social activist Yossi Dorfman said earlier that he decided to examine the profile after it “seemed too generic” to him. In a Twitter thread, Dorfman revealed that the account’s URL shows a different, “even more generic” name, Dana Levi.

“These sort of fake profiles are called avatars, and they’re used to distort reality,” Dorfman said. According to Dorfman, the profile first became active on March 6, shortly after Israel’s latest election cycle. It also interacted with other seemingly fake profiles.

In recent months, Netanyahu has filed numerous complaints with the police over threats and incitement to violence against him and his family on social media. 

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