Russia Organized Protests, Rallies Via Facebook

Angelica Greene
September 13, 2017

Apparently, a known Russian front company managed to use "Facebook's event management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the us, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho", which were promoted using ads paid for by the same network of fake accounts.

"Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society's attention to this problem", the event posting said.

The social media giant said it "shut down several promoted events as part of a takedown" last week involving "Russian-affiliated pages", the Daily Beast first reported Monday (12 September).

Although the notice-like numerous ads referenced by Facebook last week-didn't associate itself with any particular politician, it borrowed themes familiar from then-candidate Donald Trump's campaign. "We demand open and thorough investigation of all the cases regarding Muslim refugees!", it continued.

According to The Daily Beast, the rally was hosted by "SecuredBorders", which the outlet described an anti-immigration community that served as a Russian front. "All government officials, who are covering up for these criminals, should be fired!"

About 48 people on Facebook expressed an interest in the event while four said they went. Facebook hasn't clarified how many of these events were created on its platform, and whether they've already taken place.

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"Lets face it - the whole notion of social media and how its used in the political campaigns is the wild, wild West", remarked the top Democrat on the committee, Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, on Wednesday, as he called for both Facebook and Twitter to testify in a public hearing on the issue.

Burr and Warner said they have been speaking with each other about a potential hearing.

The Senate Intelligence Committee may call on representatives from Facebook and Twitter to publicly testify about foreign interference in US elections after Facebook disclosed last week that shadowy Russian-linked accounts had purchased more than $100,000 in political ads from June 2015 to May 2017.

Previously, Facebook disclosed that the Russian firm Internet Research Agency had spent $100,000 on Facebook ads but hadn't specified what these ads were about.

In light of the discovery of the ads actively promoting Trump causes, the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington nonprofit group that advocates for more transparency in elections, said on September 12 that it sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to publicly release the content of the alleged Russia-linked political ads.

Other reports by GizPress

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