An investigation revealed thousands of orchestrated accounts masking as Moroccan voices in a coordinated effort to shape public opinion on Palestine.
Eekad, the Arab region’s first open-source intelligence platform, revealed compelling findings in its recent probe into a surge of Moroccan-linked accounts advocating Israeli perspectives and denouncing the Palestinian resistance.
The investigation was a part of an ongoing series by Eekad aimed at uncovering the subversive activities of bot farms shaping Arab discourse. The Arabic-speaking accounts, claiming Moroccan identities, were found to be operating within Morocco.
Their activities were not confined to any single platform and were found disseminating similar pro-Israeli messages on Facebook and YouTube as well.
The in-depth analysis highlighted telltale signs of orchestrated bot activities, such as repeated usage of identical phrases, sequential duplication of emojis, uniform interactions with selected accounts and a trend of altering tweet locations to Morocco.
Building the narrative
The evidence accrued indicated that these accounts were not mere standalone actors but rather part of a larger, coordinated campaign aimed at creating a narrative of Moroccan support for Israel.
Most notably, their activity increased around December 2020, corresponding with the unfolding of Arab-Israeli normalisation pacts. This strongly suggested a calculated strategy aimed at laying the groundwork for Morocco’s diplomatic alignment with Israel.
Eekad’s investigation noted a peculiar and disproportionate surge in account activity beginning in August 2022. This aligned with previous discoveries related to inflated engagement within Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Saudi bot farms. The pattern suggested the presence of a singular entity coordinating these operations across multiple Arab countries.
Upon a quantitative assessment, Eekad found that the activity of these Israel-Moroccan bot farms intensified post-August 2022. The number of such accounts had nearly tripled, with a commensurate threefold increase in their engagement rates.
Out of tens of thousands of these accounts, more than 22,000 were flagged as likely being fake due to flawed Arabic while mimicking Moroccan identities, modest follower counts, rarely exceeding 50, the creation of fake profiles and consistent pattern of identical narratives.
One such example was an account under the pseudonym “David Levy,” which falsely claimed the credentials of a researcher, university professor, writer, and political analyst.
In-depth analysis confirmed that the profile picture was AI-generated, lending further credence to the notion that these accounts were part of an orchestrated campaign.
A very similar picture was linked back to a Pinterest account’s profile photo.
These bot farms did not limit their scope to Palestine.
They have also been contributing to growing animosities, such as those between Moroccans and Algerians to sow discord and manipulate public opinion on multiple fronts.
Eekad’s findings offer a sobering glimpse into the calculated strategies employed to influence Arab discourse.
The investigation into Israeli-Moroccan bot farms is just the tip of the iceberg, with Eekad promising further revelations in a quest to expose these hidden operations.