Facebook removed a collection of 100 pages and accounts associated with former Republican operative Roger Stone Wednesday that the company said were used to manipulate public debate ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
The longtime friend of President Donald Trump allegedly used the accounts to direct attention to posts from anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Facebook officials said, according to a Washington Post report on the removals. WikiLeaks was responsible for leaking a trove of damaging emails of the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 presidential campaign of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Stone’s personal accounts were among more than 54 accounts, 50 pages, and four Instagram accounts that were closed, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy for Facebook, said in a statement, the Post reported.
“We saw them deeply enmeshed in the activity here,” Gleicher said of Stone’s personal accounts. (RELATED: Facebook Admits It Censored The WikiLeaks DNC Email Dump, Offers No Explanation As To Why)
The network violated Facebook’s policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher added.
Stone’s network became public after various news outlets petitioned for release of search warrants former special counsel Robert Mueller used during his investigation into potential coordination between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian officials, according to the Post.
Research firm Graphika, which analyzes alleged misinformation campaigns, released a report Wednesday that claims the Stone network engaged in harassment of political opponents and critics, the Post reported. Facebook also announced the removal Wednesday of three networks active in Ukraine and Latin America.
“At a high level, this entire takedown marks a reckoning that politicians around the world also use information operations to influence domestic and local issues,” Camille Francois, chief innovation officer for Graphika, told WaPo.
Stone was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison on charges that he obstructed a congressional investigation and tampered with a witness. Mueller’s office indicted Stone in January 2019 on counts of making false statements to Congress during a congressional probe into potential Russian interference during the 2016 election.
Some American intelligence officials have warned social media companies and political campaigns about foreign interference, particularly in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Officials determined that Russia did spread false information across social media at the time of the election.
Facebook has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on the removal of the pages.
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