Russian Federation used Facebook to organize anti-immigrant rallies

Michael Flynn

Warner has been pushing for the companies to testify before the Senate panel, and on Tuesday he weighed in on a report that Russian agents used Facebook to promote protests in the USA, including an anti-immigrant protest in August 2016 during the campaign.

"Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society's attention to this problem", the event notice began, according to The Daily Beast.

The social media giant said it "shut down several promoted events as part of a takedown" last week involving "Russian-affiliated pages", the Daily Beast first reported Monday (12 September).

But BuzzFeed said it retrieved some of the ads placed by a "notorious St. Petersburg troll factory" that was posing as a Facebook community called SecuredBorders, and found they actively promoted Trump and his platform while mocking and denouncing Trump's liberal opponents.

"We must stop taking in Muslim refugees!" the description warned.

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, USA media are reporting. 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.

It is still unclear how many similar events were created using Facebook's events management tool. "More than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, said they felt comfortable with societal changes that have made the USA more diverse", the Journal reported.

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

The top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee have both signaled interest in having Facebook and Twitter testify about Russian interference on their platforms during the 2016 presidential election.

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

Less than a week ago, Facebook revealed it had sold $100,000 worth of ads to inauthentic accounts likely linked to Russian Federation during the U.S. presidential election.

The company has turned over information about the ads to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged Russian interference, a source has said.

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