AI-Generated Site Sparks Viral Hoax Claiming the Suicide of Netanyahu’s Purported Psychiatrist

An article from an AI-generated website fueled a baseless narrative about the Israeli Prime Minister’s nonexistent psychiatrist

By McKenzie Sadeghi | Published on Nov. 16, 2023


These findings were first reported in NewsGuard’s proprietary Misinformation Risk Briefing for clients. If you are interested in receiving NewsGuard’s briefing, please contact


An AI-generated news website appears to be the source of a false claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s supposed psychiatrist died by suicide — demonstrating how generative artificial intelligence tools are already apparently being weaponized by bad actors to spread misinformation.   

The false claim appears to have originated on Nov. 6 on a website called Global Village Space, which presents itself as a Pakistani news site. The article, headlined “Israeli Prime Minister’s psychiatrist commits suicide,” claimed that “Dr. Moshe Yatom, a renowned Israeli psychiatrist celebrated for his work in curing severe mental illnesses, was discovered dead in his Tel Aviv home.” The article also stated that Yatom left behind a “devastating suicide note that implicated” Netanyahu. This claim quickly spread on several platforms in numerous languages, including by thousands of social media users.

In fact, a NewsGuard search did not identify any psychiatrists in Israel by the name of Moshe Yatom, or anyone with a name similar to that who was reported to have recently died. Global Village Space appears to have used AI to rewrite a satire article about Netanyahu, capitalizing on interest in the war.   

The Global Village Space article seems to have had as its source a June 8, 2010, satirical article on Legalienate, a site that describes itself as a “News, Commentary and Satire” website. The articles contained significant similarities, and Global Village Space has a history of using AI to generate content from other sources. In August 2023, NewsGuard found that was one of 37 sites also using AI to rewrite content without credit from mainstream news sources, such as The New York Times. 

In May 2023, NewsGuard first identified Global Village Space as an AI-generated website. This is an example of a website determined by NewsGuard to be among many Unreliable AI-Generated News Sites (UAINS), which are sites that predominantly publish news generated by AI, with minimal human editorial oversight and without transparently disclosing this practice to their readers. (See NewsGuard’s UAINS tracker here.) As noted on NewsGuard’s AI tracker, UAINS regularly repackage old content as new. 

The Global Village Space AI-generated article went into great detail, despite the fact that the claim is entirely fabricated. The AI-written article claimed that the suicide note “painted a grim picture of a man who had tried for nine years to penetrate the enigmatic mind of Netanyahu, only to be defeated by what he called a ‘waterfall of lies.’” Under a subsection titled “Shocking Diary Entries,” the article claimed that the doctor had written that “Netanyahu equated Iran with Nazi Germany and went as far as dubbing Iran’s nuclear energy program a ‘flying gas chamber,’ while suggesting that all Jews were living perpetually in Auschwitz.” The article also referred to an alleged unfinished manuscript of a book by the doctor that the article claimed “sheds light on the extraordinary challenges Yatom faced in attempting to guide his illustrious patient towards a rational understanding of reality.”

Following the publication of the false claims by Global Village Space, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting’s Channel Two aired a segment titled “Netanyahu’s psychologist committed suicide.” Host Mohammadreza Shahbazi said in Farsi, “Netanyahu’s therapist spent years with this man and then went and killed himself,” according to a NewsGuard translation of the segment. Shahbazi then urged viewers to “Read the rest of it,” directing his audience to the Global Village Space.

State-run TV host Mohammadreza Shahbazi citing the unreliable AI-generated English-language news site to advance the false claim that Netanyahu’s “psychiatrist” committed suicide. (Screenshot via NewsGuard)

The TV segment follows weeks of Iranian state media portraying Netanyahu as mentally unstable following the Oct. 7 terrorism attacks on Israelis by Hamas, which is armed and funded by Iran, and the resulting Israeli declaration of war on Hamas and invasion of Gaza.

This is not the first time Iranian media has advanced the false claim that Netanyahu’s “psychiatrist” died by suicide. In a June 21, 2010, article Iranian state-run Fars News Agency  advanced the false claim, citing the Legalienate article without acknowledging that it was actually satire.

The claims about Netanyahu also spread in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, French, Farsi, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Turkish, and Portuguese, and circulated on TikTok, Reddit, X, Instagram, YouTube, and sites with low NewsGuard ratings. Many users cited the Global Village Space article as their source. Meanwhile, a handful of anonymously run sites published obituaries for the mythical “Moshe Yatom.” On Nov. 8, 2023, the first result for a Google search of “Moshe Yatom” by a NewsGuard analyst based in the U.S. was the Global Village Space article.

A Google search result for “Moshe Yatom” on Nov. 13, 2023, returned dozens of articles baselessly claiming that “Netanyahu’s psychiatrist” died by suicide. There is no evidence the supposed psychiatrist is a real person. (Screenshot via NewsGuard)

“Israeli Prime Minister’s psychiatrist commits suicide blaming delusional #Netanyahu,” one anonymously run account wrote in an X post that had generated 8,400 views and more than 100 likes and reposts as of Nov. 15. Member of the Indian Parliament Jawhar Sircar shared the Global Village Space article on X, writing, “Israeli PM Netanyahu’s psychiatrist commits suicide — holds PM responsible! Terrible! Netanyahu is a vile, controversial Nazi-type bully with [a] criminal record.” Sircar’s post accumulated 6,000 views and more than 300 likes and reposts as of Nov. 15.  

NewsGuard did not find any evidence that the false claim was part of a larger coordinated online campaign other than its spread by Iran’s broadcaster. It is likely that low-quality content farms, largely driven by clicks for programmatic advertising revenue, noticed an uptick in search queries for “Moshe Yatom,” and picked up the false claim in an effort to direct users to their sites.  

Further leveraging AI technology to spread the false narrative, a video version of the claim on TikTok appeared to use hyper-realistic audio and avatar tools to generate human-like narration. A seemingly human-like AI avatar woman says, “It is with profound sadness that we report the tragic passing of one of Israel’s leading psychiatrists,” as a screengrab of the Global Village Space article is displayed. The video garnered more than 19,000 views on TikTok as of Nov. 14, 2023.

A November 2023 TikTok video that used an apparent AI avatar and voice technology to spread the false claim about “Netanyahu’s psychiatrist” committing suicide. (Screenshot via NewsGuard)

In a demonstration of how large language models can be used to spread falsehoods, when NewsGuard asked OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4, “Who is Moshe Yatom?” the chatbot responded by repeating the baseless narrative. “Dr. Yatom’s passing on November 6, 2023, was met with widespread shock and sorrow, particularly because it was through an apparent suicide, as indicated by a self-inflicted gunshot wound found at his Tel Aviv residence,” ChatGPT responded. 

As supposed evidence, GPT-4, which now cites sources when generating text, linked to a Nov. 9, 2023, article from another unreliable AI-generated news site called titled, “Israeli PM’s Psychiatrist Found Dead in Apparent Suicide: Moshe Yatom’s Tragic Demise.”

ChatGPT’s response when NewsGuard asked the chatbot about “Moshe Yatom.” The chatbot responded by repeating the suicide falsehood. (Screenshot via NewsGuard)

NewsGuard contacted by email in May 2023, August 2023, and November 2023, inquiring about the site’s undisclosed use of AI to produce articles and rewrite content without credit, but did not receive any responses. OpenAI did not return a November 2023 email from NewsGuard inquiring about its chatbot relaying the false psychiatrist suicide narrative.