The “Malaysian Troll Army” Shows How Hamas Conducts War on Social Media

July 20, 2021 | Emily Schrader
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During the latest round of fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terrorist groups, there was a deluge of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites, ranging from the merely deluded to the vile. But not all of it was due to the spontaneous spread of “viral” comments. Emily Schrader notes the seemingly orchestrated activities emanating from Malaysia, a country whose recently retired prime minister was notorious for his anti-Semitic declarations:

During the operation in May, the IDF announced that it was its policy to target Hamas activists anywhere, including, specifically, Malaysia. . . . From May 10 to May 21, anti-Israel trolls from Malaysia launched an organized and coordinated cyberbullying [campaign, involving] efforts to hack into social-media accounts of major pro-Israel voices (including mine) and to lock their accounts. In addition, they used information from data leaks to spam private citizens and public officials on WhatsApp, [a popular messaging service], effectively locking their accounts.

For example, Malaysian trolls were able to obtain the personal phone number of the IDF Arabic spokesman Avichay Adraee, and locked his WhatsApp account during a military operation.

New research on what happened during the operation indicates an orchestrated and well-planned effort across social-media platforms to target Israeli and Jewish users. Using [the encrypted-messaging software] Telegram, activists in Malaysia used channels with thousands of such as “Team Suspend Twitter” in which they sent out lists of major pro-Israel accounts, followed by instructions on how to maliciously attack the accounts with fake passwords to trigger account suspension.

One of the leading groups behind this cyberattack was a Facebook group called the “Malaysian Troll Army” which has over half a million followers. . . . Another group which works with the Malaysian Troll Army is the Cinta Syria Malaysia, with 300,000 followers, and its sister organization, Cinta Gaza Malaysia, which is run by a Malaysian in Gaza, Nadir al-Nuri.

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