On Wednesday, Facebook announced that this was the case deleted accounts owned by Roger Stone, a friend and confidant of President Donald Trump, after linking them to fake accounts and pages that were active in the 2016 elections.
The announcement came as part of Facebook’s release his monthly report about disinformation on the platform. The company linked Stone’s Facebook and Instagram accounts to a US-based disinformation network that also had ties to the far-right organization Proud Boys, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The Proud Boys was founded by Gavin McInnes and members have attended right-wing extremist gatherings such as the “Unify the lawRally in Charlottesville in 2017.
Facebook said it removed 54 accounts, 50 pages, and four Instagram accounts on Thursday because it was involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in the U.S. According to the company, the individuals behind these accounts would pose as Florida residents and post and respond to reinforce them, including material released by WikiLeaks prior to the 2016 presidential election.
“We first started investigating this network as part of our investigation of the Proud Boys’ attempts to return to Facebook after identifying them and banning them from the platform,” Facebook said in a statement. “Our research linked this network to Roger Stone and his colleagues.”
In a statement issued to The New York TimesStone denied any involvement in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook’s platforms. “Forbidding individuals who choose to repost things I’ve posted is an even more extraordinary act of inappropriate censorship.” He continued, “I will take immediate legal action against the business parents of the social media platforms.”
Last November, Stone was convicted in federal court for impeding congressional investigations and lying to investigators under oath, including allegations, following the special board investigation under Robert Mueller. During Mueller’s investigation, researchers looked at Stone’s attempts during the 2016 elections communicate with WikiLeaks. Stone is expected to go to jail later this month.