Activists say hundreds of spam accounts are giving low ratings and bad reviews for the film on rating platforms
Many of the accounts giving Farha low ratings on IMDb were newly created (TaleBox)
Nadda Osman, Middle East Eye, 2 December 2022
Hundreds of spam accounts have left negative reviews of the film Farha on the movie rating site IMDb, in what appears to be an organised campaign.
Streaming on Netflix and set during the Nakba of 1948, the film revolves around a teenage girl who watches Zionist militias kill her entire family, including a baby.
Jordanian director Darin Sallam says her debut feature is based on actual events, which she first heard about from her Palestinian father.
The film has been slammed by Israeli officials but Palestinians reject such criticisms, arguing that abuses like those depicted in the movie are documented to have happened.
Following the Israeli censure, the film’s ratings have dropped dramatically on IMDb, one of the internet’s most popular film review sites.
On 1 December, the film’s ratings went from 7.2 to 5.8 in a matter of hours, in what many activists and campaigners have called a targeted campaign.
According to activists, many of the negative reviews appeared to have come from the same source, containing similar comments, such as calling the film “one-sided” or a “big lie”.
One review, titled “propaganda and fantasy”, awarded the film one star and called it an “over emotional drama”.
Former Al Jazeera journalist and influencer Ahmed Shihab-Eldin says the negative reviews were part of an orchestrated effort to discredit the film and stop people from seeing it.
“The pacing of the posts reveals it was co-ordinated,” he told Middle East Eye.
“With each passing hour, dozens and dozens of vapid and vile reviews would appear, making wild accusations trashing the film. It was clear people had not seen the film, and only wanted to damage its reputation,” he added.
According to Shihab-Eldin, many of the accounts posting negative reviews of the film were newly created.
He says that around 1,000 negative reviews suddenly appeared on the website during a 24-hour period, which contained “inflammatory and hateful language”.
At the time of publication, the average review rating of Farha on the IMDb page sat at 8.1, suggesting the website had removed inauthentic ratings.
Middle East Eye has contacted the website for comment.
A painful history
Earlier, Israeli officials including Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s far-right, outgoing finance minister, condemned the film, saying: “It’s crazy that Netflix decided to stream a movie whose whole purpose is to create a false pretence and incite against Israeli soldiers.”
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