Dozens of social media accounts have been deleted for violating the company’s foreign intervention policy
Facebook representatives announced on Wednesday that it had blocked accounts associated with Roger Stone, a professional lobbyist who campaigned for Republican presidents Nixon, Reagan and Trump, and in 2019 was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for defrauding investigators. A Facebook investigation uncovered Stone’s connections to a network of accounts that have been spreading disinformation on social media since the 2016 US election. Among other things, Stone’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts have been removed..
In addition, Facebook has liquidated the networks of accounts associated with a certain advertising agency in Ukraine and with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro..
Stone’s network was exposed as part of a broader effort to cleanse the Internet of shadow operations and through information gathered during the so-called. “Russian investigation”, which was carried out in the US by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, said Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity at Facebook. Stone has been linked to over 50 Facebook and Instagram accounts and dozens of pages involved both before and after the 2016 elections..
“We want to make sure that these accounts, most of which are currently dormant, cannot be reactivated and used in the upcoming elections,” Gleicher said..
Facebook disclosed this network as a result of the release of information obtained in the course of the Russian investigation. Accounts associated with Stone published misinformation about political events in Florida, posted materials published by Wikileaks before the 2016 elections, wrote about candidates who participated in the elections in the same 2016, as well as about Stone himself and the lawsuit that resulted in an associate of the president was convicted on charges of perjury to Congress, pressured witnesses and obstructing justice.
“Much of the content posted by the network was about Roger Stone — the authors praised his political acumen, defended him from criminal charges and demanded his pardon,” says a report commissioned by Facebook by Graphika..
The social network also reported the removal of 72 accounts and 35 Facebook pages associated with the Ukrainian advertising agency Postmen DA. Some of the accounts included in this network have been deleted for incitement to hatred. This network was especially active during the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. Page administrators and account owners published political memes and other content related to, among others, Crimea, NATO, the Ukrainian economy, domestic politics, elections and presidential candidates, including about Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Yulia Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko.
A total of $ 1.93 million was spent on advertising and promoting these accounts..
Facebook also blocked a network of fraudulent accounts associated with the Brazilian Social Liberal Party and employees of companies owned by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonar and his allies..
Facebook takes down accounts tied to Roger Stone
The network consisted of accounts run by individuals posing as fictional reporters and publishing news about elections, political memes, investigations about opposition figures, journalists and the coronavirus pandemic. The Facebook management learned about the existence of the network from the reports of the Brazilian press and from representatives of the country’s parliament..
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