Facebook takes down troll farm posing as Black support for Trump

Facebook said Thursday that it has taken down a number of fake accounts and pages associated with a Romanian-based troll farm that pretended to represent Black Americans who support President Trump.

Facebook’s July Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report said the company took down 35 accounts, three pages and 88 Instagram accounts that were part of the operation for violating its policy “against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity.”

“About 1,600 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and around 7,200 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts,” Facebook said.

The development was first reported by NBC News.

The company said people behind the operation were using the fake accounts “to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage Pages including some posing as President Trump fan Pages.”

Some of the topics the pages would post about included African American support for the president’s campaign, Christian beliefs and the QAnon conspiracy theory, Facebook said in its report.

The report also featured screenshots of some of the posts promoted by the network’s accounts, including one that came from a “BlackPeopleVoteForTrump” Instagram page that featured a Black man wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap.

Facebook said it detected the network as part of its “internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior ahead of the 2020 election in the US.”  

Nathaniel Gleicher, who is the company’s head of security policy, told NBC News on Thursday that the motives behind the operation are unclear.

However, he added in a statement to the outlet that the company did not find “clear evidence of financial motivation” or “links to known commercial actors in this space.”

Tags 2020 2020 campaign Donald Trump Facebook Instagram NBC News

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