According to a social media watchdog group, an August attack on Billie Eilish’s Instagram page was anything but organic.
In a report titled Manufactured Outrage, pro-Israel organization Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) analyzed the anti-Israel content posted to Eilish’s page after she posted a clip promoting her new album to an Israeli audience. Comments posted created the impression that millions of Eilish’s fans opposed the singer interacting with Israelis.
CCFP found that a large number of the profiles which left anti-Israel comments were not accounts that belong to real people.
“Bot armies attacked Billie Eilish’s Instagram account with waves of sock-puppet and fake account posts. This was done in an effort to overtake her influential social media page and to use it as their own bully pulpit,” read the report, which was obtained by the Daily Mail.
“The frequency and volume of the comments creates a false impression. The overwhelming presence of the comments on the videos intended to silence her from ever mentioning Israel again and to give a false impression to her fans that thousands of real people are posting comments on her posts.”
The organization’s director, Ari Ingel, told the Mail that the “coordinated attack” was likely perpetrated by “state actors,” including those backed by the Iranian government.
Though Ingel could not confirm with complete certainty who was behind the attack, he added that “one thing is clear, it’s not fans of Billie Eilish, or fans of music in general.”
The report found that, at a minimum, 26 percent of the strongly anti-Israel comments on Eilish’s page were made by accounts with zero posts on their profiles, a “strong indicator” that they are fake accounts.
“These are fraudulent accounts, carrying out coordinated anti-Israel campaigns by actors who have one goal, and that’s to demonize and delegitimize Israel,” Ingel told the Mail.
‘What’s striking is the sheer volume, frequency, and level of coordination we’re seeing. The people and state actors behind these campaigns understand how social media algorithms work.”
“’These attacks are very calculated as thousands of fraudulent comments flood profiles with negative comments, and then bots give these comments thousands of ‘likes’ to get them into the top slots of a post.”