Facebook suspended the chatbot feature of Netanyahu’s page that was calling on people to get vaccinated, making it the third time the social media giant has targeted the Prime Minister’s ability to connect with Israelis.
Chatbot Helping the Elderly Get Vaccinated
On Monday evening, Facebook suspended a chatbot set up on the official page of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Facebook also deleted the post connected to the chatbot.
A chatbot is a software application used to conduct an online chat conversation via text or text-to-speech, in lieu of providing direct contact with a live human agent.
“If you have friends or family members aged 60 or over who have not yet been vaccinated, you can write a response here with their name and phone number, and I may call to convince them!” the message read.
“Both the video and bot messages violate our privacy policies and, by extension, our Developer Policies,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We removed the post from the page and blocked the chatbot for 7 days.”
Responding to the decision, the Likud party said that the social media campaign “aimed to encourage Israelis over the age of 60 to get vaccinated in order to save their lives after Prime Minister Netanyahu brought vaccines to every Israeli citizen.”
“We call on everyone to get vaccinated so that we can open up the economy and be the first in the world to emerge from the coronavirus,” the statement added.
Facebook suspended Netanyahu’s chatbot twice in the run-up to the elections in Spetember 2017. The first suspension was due to a post warning visitors of a possible “secular left-wing weak government that relies on Arabs who want to destroy us all — women, children and men.” Netanyahu claimed that the post did not reflect his views, adding that he did not write the post. The second suspension at that time came for sharing polling information which violates Israel’s election laws.