A foreign influenced Facebook group aimed at sowing discord in the U.S. orchestrated 2017’s protests condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The group, called “Resistance,” successfully influenced thousands of demonstrators into attending a pro-DACA, anti-Trump protests in New York City for an event called “We Stand with DREAMers! Support DACA!” on Sept. 9, 2017, The Hill reported Wednesday.
In Springfield, Ill., Resistance created “The People’s Protest. Springfield against Trump” for an Aug. 30 event, where more than 2,000 Facebook users said they were interested in attending. Another 726 Facebook users said they planned on attending.
Other protests with thousands of attendees and similar in nature took place on Sept. 9 in Washington, DC, Boston, and Oakland, Calif., the New York Post reported. It’s unclear if the protests in Washington, D.C., Boston, and Oakland, Calif., were orchestrated by the Resistance’s “We Stand with DREAMers! Support DACA!” event.
Resistance coordinated a third event with about 4,700 interested in going and another 1,400 planning on attending a protest at Trump tower, called “Protest Trump and ideology of hate at Trump Tower!”
Facebook announced Tuesday that it removed 32 illegitimate pages and posts on Facebook and Instagram aimed at influencing the mid-term elections in November. The Resistance page was one of those Facebook pages, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. (RELATED: Facebook Inadvertently Labels Ads With ‘Bush’ Or ‘Clinton’ In Them As POLITICAL)
“We’re still in the very early stages of our investigation and don’t have all the facts — including who may be behind this. But we are sharing what we know today given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington next week. We will update this post with more details when we have them, or if the facts we have change,” Facebook said in a statement.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Tuesday that, while she doesn’t know which ones, foreign nation-states are behind the campaign on Facebook.
“This threat is very real, and Americans need to know that,” Nielsen said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing.” “The Russians, or whoever it is in this case — we haven’t attributed it — but Russians and other nation-states absolutely are attempting to manipulate us.”
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