Facebook announced Tuesday that it has removed 32 “bad actors” from its platform. That is, they took down 32 pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram that were engaging in “coordinated, inauthentic behavior”.
A righteous Mark Zuckerberg said we do not allow that kind of behavior and we don’t want those misleading accounts.
These actors obscured their true identities with VPNs and are working harder to hide their identities than they did in the past. One of the pages, ‘Resisters’ suggests the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) is involved.
A known IRA account was listed as an administrator for one of these pages, ‘Resisters’ for a very short time in 2017. The page had “an IRA account as one of its admins for only seven minutes,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook doesn’t know if it’s the Russians. “…we still don’t have firm evidence to say with certainty who’s behind this effort. Some of the activity is consistent with what we saw from the IRA before and after the 2016 elections. And we’ve found evidence of some connections between these accounts and IRA accounts we disabled last year…But there are differences, too.”
Of all the deleted accounts, “Resisters” is the only one that has a clear connection to the IRA, or Internet Research Agency, a shadowy group backed by Moscow that was hyper-active on Facebook around the 2016 election.
MOST FOLLOWED PAGES
The most followed Facebook Pages were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters.” The remaining Pages had between zero and 10 followers, and the Instagram accounts had zero followers.
They are all Democrat pages.
Activity was detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The Resisters account worked hard to promote a couple of anti-right wing events. One, scheduled to take place in November of 2017, was billed as “Trump Nightmare Must End.” The protest was supposed to take place in Times Square, and apparently 4,000 people were interested but it’s not clear if it went off.
THEY TOOK DOWN A LEGITIMATE FAR-LEFT EVENT
Resisters was pushing an event set for this coming August 10. The event, called “No Unite the Right 2 DC,” was described as a counter-protest against a right-wing rally which is supposed to take place on the same day, organized by some of the same people who organized the Charlottesville protest last year. Facebook pulled it but the event is real and was not organized by Resisters.
Organizers of the protest took to Twitter to object to Facebook’s suspension of the event. “I cannot believe I have to say this: The Unite the Right counter protest is not being organized by Russians,” wrote one user, Dylan Petrohilos. “We have permits in DC, we have numerous local orgs like BLM, Resist This, and Antifascist groups working on this protest. FB deleted the event because 1 page was sketch.” Petrohilos also tweeted that the event was founded by another group, not the Resisters page.
That appears to be one case of “coordinated, inauthentic behavior”.
THEY FOUND TRIVIA
What Facebook found was trivial and it could mostly be an effort by Facebook to regain its lost credibility and $120 billion. What they found:
There were more than 9,500 organic posts created by these accounts on Facebook, and one piece of content on Instagram.
They ran about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram, paid for in US and Canadian dollars. The first ad was created in April 2017, and the last was created in June 2018.
About 30 events were created since May 2017. Half had fewer than 100 accounts interested in attending.
Some 290,000 Facebook users followed at least one of these pages. [Following means little]
The $11,000 in ads might as well be nothing. It’s meaningless.
These election-influencing pages are anti-Trump, mindful, left, and hard-left.
EXAMPLES OF THE ‘BAD ACTORS’ ACCOUNTS
This page is anti-Trump and hard-left.
This page is a LaRaza, Mexican separatist page.
Aztlan Warriors encourages Mexican supremacy and they want to take back land in the United States. They already have from what we can see.
— UsHadrons (@ushadrons) August 1, 2018
Looks like they want you unlearn. It sounds left-wing.
This page is about Black Nationalism and Black superiority.
TWITTER STILL HAS AN AZTLAN WARRIORS PAGE UP
They’re selling apparel.