Immigration

Did Foreign Agents Hack The Migrant Caravan?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

There was nothing necessarily extraordinary about the migrant caravan that began walking from Honduras to Tijuana about a month before the midterm elections. Immigrants and refugees often travel in caravans for safety in numbers and at least one other caravan has already reached our southern border ahead of the caravan that drew national attention because Trump singled it out.

The size of the latter is the only thing that made it stand out and, according to Buzzfeed News, a fake Facebook account was used to recruit participants for the large caravan that Trump lost his shit over.

Someone presumed to be a foreign agent created a fake account to impersonate a legitimate activist and then spread misinformation and fake news to increase the size of the caravan.

From Buzzfeed News:

Bartolo Fuentes, a Honduran activist, journalist, and former lawmaker told BuzzFeed News that someone used the phony account to send Facebook messages falsely claiming that established migrant groups were organizing the effort. News like that — coming from a well-known public figure in Honduras, such as Fuentes — could go a long way to convincing people to join the group of migrants traveling to the US. [...]

As far as Fuentes can tell, the fake account, which primarily used Facebook Messenger to spread disinformation, was created less than a week before the caravan was scheduled to depart. [...]

[The] messages being sent by the imposter, which also had Fuentes’s photo, had a very different flavor, the former lawmaker learned. They claimed that the prominent and influential migrant rights organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras was organizing the caravan and would be leading it on the arduous journey.

But the news was fake. Although Pueblo Sin Fronteras had organized several previous caravans, including a big one in the spring that attracted 1,500 people, it staunchly opposed the latest effort based on well-founded fears it would stoke anti-immigrant sentiment ahead of the elections.

Someone impersonated an activist and claimed the caravan had support from a prominent organization when, in fact, the organization opposed it for political reasons.

Who would do such a thing?

I feel like I should strap on tinfoil hat, but this all seems a little too convenient.

Unknown foreign agents deliberatly increased the size of an otherwise unremarkable migrant caravan to stoke right wing fear inside the United States just a few weeks before the election. Whoever did it clearly knew what the reaction would be and they went through the trouble of stealing someone else's identity to accomplish it.

They knew when the caravan was departing, they knew which activist they should impersonate, and they knew how Trump would react.

This doesn't sound like a simple troll job. It sounds like the work of an intelligence agency. Someone wagged the dog.

Facebook confirmed to Buzzfeed News that they deactivated a fake account that impersonated Bartolo Fuentes, but they refused to disclose any evidence they may have for who was behind the fake account. Buzzfeed reports that Facebook also refused to tell Fuentes who was behind the fake account that impersonated him.

Given that the hacked caravan led to Trump's order to deploy active-duty service members to the border where they're still sitting today with their thumbs up their asses, I believe Facebook has a responsibility to tell us what they know about this. But that may be bad for their stock prices.

  • muselet

    I wonder how many Republican consultants knew about the fake Facebook account before the first message was posted. My guess is that it’s a nonzero number.

    Also, and I know I’m repeating myself, Facebook is evil.

    –alopecia