Facebook briefly blocks Netanyahu's chatbot over violation of Israeli election law

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-18 00:12:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Facebook on Tuesday briefly suspended a chatbot on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official account over violation of Israeli election law.

The move came after Netanyahu posted results of alleged opinion polls, which is prohibited by Israeli law that bans publishing polls a few days before the voting.

The social network giant said in a statement that it was "working with elections officials around the world to help ensure the integrity of the elections," adding it suspended the chatbot for "violation of local law."

Facebook later lifted the ban following a promise by the Likud party to prevent more violations.

Five days ago, Facebook suspended the chatbot for 24 hours over sending anti-Arab messages.

Chairman of the Central Elections Committee Hanan Meltzer said that Netanyahu's Likud violated the law by publishing the poll results.

He said Netanyahu also violated the law by doing two interviews with right-wing radio stations on Tuesday, as Israeli law prohibits media from publishing election-related propaganda for 24 hours before the voting begins.

The Israeli parliamentary elections are a closely-fought race between Netanyahu, who struggles for his political survival amidst corruption allegations, and Benny Gantz, Israel's former military chief and leader of the centrist party of Blue and White.

The unprecedented elections are being held five months after the last voting in April, in which Netanyahu won but failed to form a coalition government within a legal deadline.