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December 20, 2020
As Israel kicked off its mass inoculation drive on Sunday, state prosecutors warned that the distribution of false material about the vaccine could amount to a criminal offense as it was announced that Facebook deleted dozens of posts containing falsehoods about the inoculation.
The false material was taken down from the social network as part of a joint effort between the tech giant and the cyber division of the State Attorney’s Office.
According to Channel 13 news, prosecutors have been examining groups that deliberately disseminated false information, including “false content intended to sow panic and motivate people to avoid getting vaccinated.”
“Dissemination of these publications may constitute a criminal offense,” the cyber division of the State Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Additionally, four groups were removed from Facebook for propagating false information about vaccinations, prosecutors said.
From Monday, Israelis aged 60-plus and at-risk populations can receive a vaccine at health maintenance organizations (HMOs) with an appointment.
The government hopes to inoculate some 60,000 people per day and as many as two million Israelis by the end of January. But Hebrew media reports said the first week would serve as a pilot program, tamping down expectations that hundreds of thousands of Israelis would be vaccinated within days.