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Facebook said that it has removed more than 100 accounts and pages linked to Roger Stone and his associates for violating their policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior.
Stone, who has longtime ties to President Donald Trump, is scheduled to begin serving a 40 month prison sentence next week. In a post on his Instagram account before it was shut down, Stone asked the president to grant him clemency.
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The company said that 54 Facebook accounts, 50 pages and 4 Instagram accounts were removed.
“Almost all the Facebook accounts were fake accounts used, among other things, to establish, manage, and amplify the pages in this network,” according to an analysis conducted for Facebook by security research firm Graphika (Read their report here). “Many of them displayed profile pictures taken from other online sources. The remaining handful of accounts, on both Facebook and Instagram, were personal accounts of the real individuals involved in this operation, including Roger Stone.”
According to the analysis, much of the recent content in the posts focused on Stone’s criminal defense and demands that he be pardoned. The bulk of the activity occurred during 2016 and 2017. The users of the fake accounts posed as residents of Florida, sometimes using portraits in the public domain, and posted and commented on their own content to make it seem more popular that it really was.
Several of the pages also had links to Proud Boys, a far-right group that was banned from the Facebook platforms in 2018. Facebook said that it identified the full scope of the network when Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s search warrants were made public following petitions from news organizations.
Stone’s own Facebook account had just over 60,000 followers, and his Instagram account had about 58,200. A Facebook page called “Roger Stone – Stone Cold Truth” had 141,000 followers, and there were others associated with books he has written.
Stone was banned from Twitter in October 2017 after series of angry posts about CNN journalists. The judge in his trial placed him on a gag order about the case after he posted her image on Instagram with that of a crosshairs of a gun.
Facebook said that the pages and accounts generated less than $308,000 on ads.
In November, Stone was found guilty of witness tampering and lying to Congress, in charges stemming from Mueller’s Russia investigation.
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