Israeli group finds fake pro-Netanyahu social media accounts

An Israeli watchdog says it found a network of social media bots disseminating messages in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of next week’s elections.

Two researchers operating the Big Bots Project said Monday they uncovered hundreds of fake accounts spreading messages in support of Netanyahu’s Likud party and smearing his opponents.

Noam Rotem and Yuval Adam say they found no direct link between the network and Netanyahu or Likud, though Netanyahu’s son Yair frequently liked posts by the network’s accounts.

The Likud party denies any connection to the network. Israelis head to the polls in eight days in a close race between Netanyahu and his main rival, former army chief of staff Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu seeks a fifth term in office under the shadow of corruption charges.

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