Scammers posted over a thousand fake Women’s March events on Facebook to sell T-shirts: report

Scammers posted over a thousand fake Women’s March events on Facebook to sell T-shirts: report
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Scammers in Bangladesh created more than 1,700 fake Women's March Facebook pages in order to sell T-shirts, according to a CNN report.

CNN reported the Facebook pages appeared to be run by local Women's March organizers when in reality they were being created out of the South Asian country, with some of the pages linking to web sites intended to design and sell T-shirts and other merchandise. 

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The news agency brought the list of false groups to Facebook over the weekend, which swiftly deleted them and informed CNN that it was conducting its own investigation into the matter.

"These Pages and events appear to have been created in order to profit from people interested in the event by selling march-related merchandise," Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN.

"We continue to investigate, remove additional associated fake events and Pages, and take action against those involved in creating them."

According to the news agency, most of the fake pages had no followers or attendees, but a few picked up big followings. 

Fake pages for events in Philadelphia and Chicago garnered more than 10,000 RSVPs, according to CNN.

A Seattle event got above 20,000, though CNN notes that it is possible some of the RSVPs were fake in order to make the pages appear more popular. 

According to Benjamin Decker, the research fellow at the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School who gathered the data CNN reviewed, the falsified pages were notably sophisticated.

"What is particularly notable about the relative sophistication of dozens of fabricated Women's March Facebook pages is the co-opting of official images and logos, hashtag hijacking, using pre-existing hashtags such as #womenswave to attract attention to the pages, as well as the localized targeting of urban, suburban, and rural communities across the country," Decker told CNN.