A screenshot of the fake facebook account

Iran’s Fake Facebook Profile Used Romantic Manipulation To Gather Intel On Israelis

Monday, 05/02/2022

Iran used a fake Facebook account to gather information about Israeli targets who Iranian intelligence was interested in, Israel's internal security service revealed on Monday.

According to Shin Bet, the Iranian operator had created the profile under the name of Sara Puppi, pretending to be a young Jewish girl with connections and business in Israel.

The account added thousands of friends in a very short period, and after speaking with targets on Facebook, the operator would get the victims to switch to WhatsApp.

Shin Bet managed to put an operative in the Facebook account posing as a follower.

The Iranian agent asked the Shin Bet operative to gather information about Israeli figures and examined the operative's willingness to harm them. The Iranian tried to push the Israeli agent into accepting his/her offer with emotional and romantic manipulation as well as delivering sums of money equaling thousands of dollars. 

The operator, who transferred funds to the Shin Bet operative using Bitcoins, used business reasons as a cover story for the assigned missions, such as revenge against those who owed him money or harming personal opponents and even a desire to harm LGBTQ+ people in general.

The targets of the missions also included representatives of companies and diplomats from Arab countries working in Israel. 

Shin Bet says the operator also tried to get its operative he thought was working for him to put up signs against Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to harm relations between Israel and Russia.

In February, Twitter and Facebook suspended pages and profiles of an Iranian disinformation unit that was targeting nationalist and ultra-religious Jews in Israel.

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