On Thursday, Facebook released its monthly coordinated inauthentic behavior report, including a takedown on a US campaign in favor of the Trump administration.
The head of Facebook’s cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said that a disinformation campaign that came from Rally Forge, which is a U.S. marketing firm working on behalf of the conservative group Turning Point USA, was taken down.
According to Gleicher, Rally Forge created 200 fake Facebook accounts, 76 Instagram accounts and 55 pages on Facebook starting in 2018, and posted comments on political topics, posing as real people while using stock photos.
Topics included the 2020 presidential election, COVID-19 and praise of President Donald Trump. They also posted comments in support of trophy hunting in Kenya. In one example comment, a fake persona attacked the integrity of mail-in voting.
“Mail-in ballots are such a horrible idea. A dangerous number of ballots will be lost or won’t arrive in time. The smartest thing to do is to vote in person,” the fake personality said in a Facebook comment on an article about mail-in voting in Iowa.
“Turning Point Action works hard to operate within social platforms’ [terms of services] on all of its projects and communications and we hope to work closely with [Facebook] to rectify any misunderstanding,” Turning Point USA said in a statement. Rally Forge has since been banned from Facebook, but Turning Point USA is still active on the social network.
Their pages had about 373,000 followers on Facebook and 22,000 followers on Instagram, and spent about $973,000 on ads before the takedown. It appears that Facebook took their almost $1 million in ads and then took them down!