Russia Promoted Anti-Immigrant Events Using Fake Accounts On Facebook

Michael Flynn

It finally acted last month, taking down thousands of ads linked to an infamous, pro-Putin internet agency.

Ads that Russian operatives purchased on Facebook during last year's presidential election actively promoted then-Republican candidate Donald Trump's anti-immigration campaign and other conservative causes, US media are reporting. Secured Borders organized one such protest, "Citizens before refugees", which was slated for August 27, 2016, in Twin Falls, the Daily Beast reported Monday. Although the August 27 rally in Idaho has been deleted (along with numerous other meet-ups), The Daily Beast did manage to identify it from search engine caches.

It's not clear how many such events were created using Facebook Events.

The protest was "hosted" by SecuredBorders, a supposed anti-immigration community on Facebook that was outed as a Russian front in March and then eventually shut down, the Daily Beast report said. One cached Facebook event which appears to be the same one flagged by the Beast had just 48 interested attendees, with only four marked as "went", a category that does not necessarily denote a physical presence at the rally.

"That somehow that was something they didn't think was relevant, which is again why I think this is the tip of the iceberg".

At the time, Facebook's chief security fficer said that the "vast majority of ads run by these accounts didn't specifically reference the U.S. presidential election, voting or a particular candidate".

The Senate Intelligence Committee is one congressional group now investigating allegations of Russian interference in the November elections a year ago and possible ties between President Donald Trump's team and the Kremlin.

"Let's face it, the whole notion of social media and how it is used in political campaigns is the wild wild west", Warner said Tuesday, according to Recode.

United States intelligence agencies assessed with "high confidence" in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a complex "influence campaign" involving cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns to undermine American democracy, hurt Hillary Clinton's chances and help Trump win the vote.

In a letter to Zuckerberg, the Campaign Legal Center - a Washington-based non-profit that advocates more transparency in elections - has urged the firm to publicly disclose the content of the alleged Russian-linked political ads.

Facebook said in response to the letter: "Federal law and ongoing investigations limit what we can share publicly".

Several congressional panels, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller, are probing Russian officials' meddling in the election and whether Trump campaign colluded with them.

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