Facebook has reportedly removed a group of fake accounts tied to Turning Point USA, the conservative youth organization caught coordinating a troll farm -style social media campaign last month.
Facebook’s latest report on coordinated inauthentic behavior says it banned 200 Facebook accounts, 55 pages, and 76 Instagram accounts linked to Turning Point and a marketing firm called Rally Forge, which is now banned from Facebook.
Facebook says it began its investigation after The Washington Post reported on some elements of the campaign in September.
The operation apparently started in 2018 around the US midterm elections, then reappeared in June 2020. It focused on leaving coordinated Facebook comments including ones supporting President Donald Trump, criticizing rival Joe Biden, questioning mail-in voting, and supporting sport hunting in Kenya and Botswana.
Turning Point characterized its operation as coordinated sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia.
But Facebook describes the most recent accounts it removed as thinly veiled personas whose names were slight variations of the names of the people behind them, and it says their sole activity on our platform was associated with this deceptive campaign. It also says the group spent around $973,000 advertising on Facebook and Instagram.