Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, fake accounts have been popping up impersonating government entities. The latest one causing confusion and spreading disinformation is one pretending to be the Israeli national intelligence agency, Mossad.
At first glance, it looks like a legitimate account on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter. It has more than 130,000 followers and sports the official Mossad logo.
It even has the blue Twitter checkmark, which is used to signify a verified account - although it holds less value after CEO Elon Musk turned it into a paid-for feature
The majority of this account’s posts seem to provide information about the war going on between Israel and Hamas.
Turns out, all of these details fooled many social media users and even journalists into believing it was a legitimate account.
The account had already been uncovered by a BBC fact-checking journalist back on 15 October.
It shared an excerpt from the Arma 3 video game falsely claiming to be a real clip of the conflict.
But since then, the account has changed its name to Mossad Commentary and still continues to post misleading information.
The latest one: Yemen has declared war on Israel. However, the Yemeni government has never done that.
The Houthi rebels that control the country’s capital launched missiles at Israeli targets last week.
But most of the world recognises President Hadi's government – which operates in the Yemeni port city of Aden and in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – as the nation’s legitimate leader.
And while the rocket and drone strikes are a significant escalation, the rebel group’s statement stops short of committing to all-out war, according to the Associated Press.
The same account also amplified the rumour that Hamas militants killed a baby by putting it in an oven.
The unfounded claim was disproved by Fake Reporter, an Israeli fact-checking site but the damage was done with many thinking this post meant Mossad officially confirmed the death of the child.
The post, which still hasn’t been removed, has been seen more than 2.5 million times.
The only official X account of Mossad is one called Mossad Career which has been inactive since 2020.
It only has 14,000 followers, is mostly dedicated to recruitment, and does not provide any updates or commentary on current events.