Fake news escalates before elections
- 8 בדצמבר 2021
- עודכן לאחרונה:
The term fake news is a very broad and abstract term. We studied the spread of "fake news", i.e., disinformation, by politicians for political reasons. It has been shows in studies that politician increasingly spread fake news with the intent to increase public support or undermine other political rivals.
In Israel, the spread of fake news by politicians has been very noticeable especially around the elections.
While fake news is not a new phenomenon, its effects have increased drastically since the rise of digital media. The usage of fake news became so common and threatening to the democratic process that that Israel's Central Election Committee dedicated a special web-page to combat it. In addition to some politicians spreading fake news directly, this phenomenon was amplified during elections using bots, fake accounts, and paid responders.
For example, during the last elections campaign, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spread fake news about his political rival Benny Gantz. Netanyahu's campaign claimed that Iran was able to hack candidate Gantz's phone and that they are blackmailing him for embarrassing pictures they found on the phone. This was a big issue since Gantz was formerly the IDF chief of staff. The accusation of Gantz's phone being hacked spread like wildfire through social media networks and on mainstream channels. This spread of news was used to damage the public support and integrity of the opposing candidate.
In the days following this fake news, Gantz's party suffered in the polls while Netanyahu's party saw an increase. Gantz claimed that his phone was never hacked. To this day, no information was presented that the phone was hacked.
Fake news is spread and amplified by social media and used by politicians for political gain. In Israel it was crucial during the election period.