Culture

Report: Russia Used Facebook To Organize Pro-Trump Rallies And Flash Mobs In 17 U.S. Cities

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Whether or not the Trump campaign actually colluded with Russia before, during, or after the election, Moscow was running its own game. Revelations keep pouring out of Facebook about all sorts of schemes that Russia used to try and sway the election in Trump’s favor. The latest reveal is that Russia organized pro-Trump rallies and flash mobs in 17 cities throughout Florida.

The pro-Trump events all took place on Aug. 20, 2016 under the umbrella title “Florida Goes Trump!” The events were collectively described as a “patriotic state-wide flash mob” unfolding simultaneously. Though most of the event pages have succumbed to the Internet’s own rapid turnover (and Facebook’s attempts to clear out propaganda posts), a few are still floating around thanks to a local Trump campaign chair who shared them. The events were created by an account called Being Patriotic, which also organized rallies in Philadelphia, another battleground state. The events were at least slightly successful, gathering dozens of pro-Trump, or at least anti-Clinton, activists.

Other attempts by Moscow to mess with the election using social media included the purchase of $100,000 in ads by a shadowy outfit known as the Internet Research Agency. Not only that, a Facebook group backed by Moscow but focused on attracting Texans to anti-immigrant and anti-Clinton rallies had 225,000 members. Under a dozen people showed up to those events, but they were more successful than an attempt to arrange an anti-immigration rally in Twin Falls, Idaho through an account called SecuredBorders.

Russia has also tried influencing other elections in European countries, most notably France between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. It also had success in swaying Ukrainians during their election cycle. In an era when fake news is the catch phrase de jure for anyone trying to follow current events, it’s worth noting that some of the fakest news out there isn’t critical of President Trump but instead supports him. That goes against the grain of what Trump himself has insisted since taking office, and Facebook keeps bringing the truth to bear.

(Via the Daily Beast)

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