- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2020

Facebook and Instagram accounts touting President Trump were taken down after being traced to a Romanian-based network recently purged from the platforms, Facebook said Thursday.

The pro-Trump “We Love Our President” page on Facebook and the “Black People Vote for Trump” account on its sister-service Instagram were among dozens of online profiles removed from the platforms last month for violating their rules against foreign interference, Facebook revealed in the report.

“The people behind this network used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content and manage Pages including some posing as President Trump fan Pages,” the report said in part.

Originated in Romanian, the network posted content about U.S. domestic news and events — including specifically the “November election, the Trump campaign and support for the campaign by African Americans” — as well as conservative ideology, Christian beliefs and the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, Facebook wrote in the report.

The accounts also frequently posted stories from conservative news outlets and Mr. Trump’s campaign, Facebook added. The “We Love Our President” page, for example, recently shared a video of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that was originally uploaded by the official “Team Trump” page run by the president’s reelection campaign.

In another example included in the report is an Instagram post showing a Black man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat accompanied by several pro-Trump hashtags. That image was posted to Instagram by the “blackpeoplevotefortrump” account on May 9, 2019, according to the report, indicating the network existed for more than a year before being dismantled.

Altogether, the report said 35 Facebook accounts, three Facebook pages and 88 Instagram accounts traced to the Romanian network were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

Roughly 1,600 accounts on Facebook followed at least one of the three pages, and around 7,200 users followed at least one of the dozens of Instagram accounts, the report said.

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