Russia

Report: Russians Organized Trump Rallies on Facebook

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I don't know if this is the smoking gun, but I think we're getting close.

Promotional ads for anti-immigrant rallies in Idaho and Texas have been previously traced back to Russian buyers, but The Daily Beast has now connected the promotion of pro-Trump rallies to Russian buyers.

The Russian Facebook group called "Being Patriotic" reportedly promoted pro-Trump rallies in Florida, among other places, and in at least one case an event promoted by the Russian group was also promoted by Trump's local campaign chairman in Broward County.

Being Patriotic had 200,000 followers and the strongest activist bent of any of the suspected Russian Facebook election pages that have so far emerged. Events promoted by the page last year included a July “Down With Hillary!” protest outside Clinton’s New York campaign headquarters, a September 11 pro-Trump demonstration in Manhattan, simultaneous “Miners for Trump” demonstrations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in October, and a pro-Trump rally outside Trump Tower last November, after his election victory.

The fake "Miners for Trump" rally organized by the Russian Facebook group was apparently covered by a local news channel in Scranton, Pennsylvania, so that should give you a good idea of how far this goes.

Local organizers who spoke to the Daily Beast vaguely recalled the events in Florida promoted by the Russians, or at least they pretended to. Their side of the story makes it seem as if they willingly coordinated with Russian trolls but didn't know who they were coordinating with.

Jim Frische, who was listed as a coordinator for an event in Clearwater, Florida told The Daily Beast that he was called about organizing an event and put one together. [...]

“I don’t recall the group’s name,” Frische said. “I know somebody called and said would you organize something so I put together a group. “I remember doing it and i think we had a dozen or so people out on the street corner. I remember afterward hearing it had happened all over the state.”

It defies belief that they didn't know who they were working with. These things aren't free.

The Russian "Being Patriotic" group also reportedly called on their followers to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters and encouraged them to report "voter fraud."

Being Patriotic was recently shut down by Facebook, and I for one have a lot of questions for Facebook. We can start with how long they knew this was happening.

  • Badgerite

    #Lock um up.

  • muselet

    “Being Patriotic” sounds like a bad translation from, well, Russian. Yeah, some alarm bells should have gone off, even among Trump campaign workers.

    Of course, it wasn’t in the interest of any of those campaign workers to ask too many questions. Besides, a lot of them probably thought shooting BLM protesters and reporting brown and blah people to the police for daring to vote were pretty neat ideas.

    (And people wonder why I don’t trust Facebook as far as I can throw a fit.)

    –alopecia

    • 1933john

      Whats means Facebook and whats this Tweety shit?

  • ninjaf

    I don’t think they monitored it closely enough because they didn’t think it could be abused. Zuckerburg said he didn’t think Facebook had enough influence to sway an election. I would bet the subpoenas for his business has convinced him otherwise.

  • Victor the Crab

    Let’s all torture Mark Zuckerberg into telling us what he knows about this shit!

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