Facebook suspends Netanyahu’s chatbot for seeking to ID unvaccinated Israelis

The Times of Israel:

Social media giant also deletes post by PM over privacy violation, says its platform cannot be used to request medical information

Facebook on Monday deleted a post by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and suspended a chatbot operated by his official account for a week for violating the social media network’s privacy policy.

The chatbot had been sending private messages to followers, asking them to provide personal details of people over the age of 60 who haven’t yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus, adding that the premier will then persuade them to get the inoculation, Facebook Israel said in a statement.

The same request was featured in the deleted post.

“In accordance with our privacy policy, we don’t allow content that shares or asks for people’s medical information,” the company said.

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.

The suspension is not the first time Netanyahu has faced sanctions from the social media giant over the use of its chatbot.

On the day of the September 2019 election, Facebook suspended Netanyahu’s chatbot from early afternoon until polls closed, after it illegally shared polling information, which is banned in Israel during a national ballot.

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