Facebook banned a marketing firm on Thursday for creating fake accounts on behalf of the right-wing nonprofit Turning Point Action. This tactic is used by domestic and foreign actors to inappropriately influence the political discourse in the US
Charlie Kirk speaks at the Culture War Turning Point USA event at Ohio State University in Columbus. … [+]
Photo by MEGAN JELINGER / AFP via Getty Images
In a blog post, Facebook said the Phoenix-based Rally Forge created “thinly veiled personas,” whose names were slight variations from the people behind them, to include news from the Washington Post, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times comment.
The comments cast doubts on the postal ballot papers, criticize the Democratic Party and Joe Biden, and praise President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.
Facebook removed 200 Facebook accounts, 55 pages, and 76 Instagram accounts related to the campaign, which had 373,000 followers on Facebook and 22,000 people on Instagram.
Rally Forge’s tactics mirror the tactics of foreign actors who have tried to abuse Facebook to sow discord in American politics.
Rally Forge did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
In a statement, Turning Point Action said it “works hard to work within the social platforms’ terms of service on all of its projects and communications, and we hope to work closely with FB to correct any misunderstandings.”
“Although the people behind this network tried to hide their identity and coordination, our research linked this activity to Rally Forge, a US marketing company that works on behalf of Turning Point USA and the Inclusive Conservation Group,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Security Policy on Facebook said in a blog post.
Turning Point Action was founded by Charlie Kirk, 26, a passionate Trump supporter who spoke at the Republican National Convention and has 1.8 million Twitter followers. Turning Point Action is a 501 (c) (4) affiliate of Turning Point USA, a right-wing nonprofit youth organization that advocates “freedom” on college campuses. Turning Point Action said in a statement that it was “an entirely separate entity” from Turning Point USA, although both were founded by Kirk and use similar branding.
Right content on Facebook is usually more popular than left posts. Turning Points USA isn’t the only conservative organization penalized for violating Facebook rules, however. The company issued a warning to Ben Shapiro-founded Daily Wire in July that it had an undisclosed paid relationship with Mad World News to promote its stories, according to Popular Information newsletter.