Facebook takes down fake accounts operated by ‘Roger Stone and his associates’
Facebook removed today a network of fake accounts that engaged in boosting each other’s content to promote Roger Stone’s public image, and which the social network said were operated by “Roger Stone and his associates.”
In total, Facebook banned and removed 54 accounts, 50 pages, and 4 Instagram profiles for engaging in what the social network described as “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The accounts posted politically-themed content, and then liked and commented on each other’s posts in order to trick Facebook’s algorithms and increase their content’s visibility.
While the 100+ accounts and pages posed as Florida residents, Facebook said the accounts were fake and managed by individuals connected to Roger Stone, a former adviser to the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
The social network said the accounts were only active between 2015 and 2017, after which they went dormant.
When active, the accounts and pages published content about local politics in Florida mixed with articles about Roger Stone and, later, his trial in the US.
Furthermore, the pages also promoted materials released by Wikileaks ahead of the US 2016 election, obtained following a security breach at the DNC.
Facebook said the Stone pages had around 260,000 followers, while the Instagram accounts had approximately 61,500.
However, the social network also added that some of the Roger Stone-themed Facebook pages also appeared to have acquired followers from Pakistan and Egypt to boost their popularity and visibility.
The social network said it discovered this network recently while trying to prevent members of Proud Boys, a US far-right neo-fascist organization, from re-registering on its platform.
Facebook banned and removed pages and accounts operated by Proud Boys in 2018.
The Proud Boys had previously claimed that Roger Stone was one of their members and that Stone often used Proud Boys members as bodyguards.
Additional details about this network of fake accounts are also available in this Graphika 44-page report [PDF].
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