Earlier this week Facebook alerted us to the fact that it had discovered pages and accounts that were being used in a coordinated misinformation campaign. Just like it was in 2016, the fakes were meant to impact America’s elections.
Facebook went into detail about what was found, including not only the names of some of the pages but also their reach. The social media site also explained that it could not be entirely sure of who was behind the scheme, noting that it had some similarities to what Russia did a couple years back but was not entirely the same.
But as was the case in 2016, the pages and accounts only worked because regular people followed them. They likely didn’t realize the accounts were fake or even the motivations behind their existence, but the support was there.
Were you a fan of a fake page?
Facebook said the 32 fake pages and accounts, which were on both their site as well as Instagram, posted 9,500 times, paid for about 150 ads and created 30 events since May 2017. The oldest of the pages landed on Facebook in March 2017, with the newest being created in May 2018.
Combined, the 32 pages and accounts attracted more than 290,000 followers, with thousands of them saying they were interested in attending events they created.
So which pages and accounts were fake?
Facebook said the most followed pages were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being” and “Resisters.” Do any of those sound familiar? Some of their posts might.
The pages promoted all sorts of ideas and went across the political spectrum. It’s apparent that whoever was behind them was once again looking to sow discord among Americans, even going so far as to create events.
Facebook said it will contact the users who said they would attend, as well as those who said they were “interested.”
Facebook is still investigating the issue, and is likely preparing for it to continue as we get closer to the November elections. The social media site said the group or groups behind the campaign have done a better job of staying in the shadows than Russia in 2016, though that does not mean the Russians are not involved now.