Facebook removes accounts linked to disgraced former Trump adviser Roger Stone

Several pages commented on posts from others in the network ‘to make it appear more popular than it is’

James Crump
Wednesday 08 July 2020 22:19
Roger Stone arrives at court ahead of sentencing over obstructing Russia investigation

Facebook has removed more than 100 accounts linked to Roger Stone on its social media platforms, after they were linked to fake personas and a far right group that was banned from the site in 2018.

The social media company took down accounts linked to the disgraced former adviser to President Donald Trump, and the far right group, the Proud Boys, on both Facebook and Instagram.

Stone, a veteran Republican operative who has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, served as an adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign. He has been accused of collaborating with Wikileaks to discredit Hilary Clinton in the build up to that election.

The network of social media accounts and pages spent more than $300,000 (£237,816) between them on ads to promote posts, according to CNN.

Some of the pages posted about materials released by Wikileaks in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, while others posted about Stone or regional politics.

Multiple accounts commented on posts from others in the network “to make it appear more popular than it is”, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy said on Wednesday.

Mr Gleicher published a blog post that explained the work that went into discovering the network.

“We first started looking into this network as part of our investigation into the Proud Boys’ attempts to return to Facebook after we had designated and banned them from the platform,” he wrote on Wednesday.

“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Mr Gleicher added.

He said that several of the Facebook pages were linked to the Proud Boys, who were banned from the social media platform in 2018. The far right group only admits men as members and encourages political violence.

Members of the group have attended Stone’s recent court hearings, where he was convicted of lying to Congress, and have acted as a support group for him and his family over the last couple of years, according to CNN.

During his court proceedings last year, Stone was banned from posting on social media by a judge, after he posted inflammatory comments about the case.

Stone is scheduled to surrender at a federal prison in Georgia next week, for a 40 month prison sentence, after he was found guilty of seven charges last year.

He was convicted of threatening a witness and lying to and obstructing Congress, alongside five other charges relating to him attempting to contact Wikileaks in the build up to the 2016 presidential election, reportedly to help the president.

It has been widely reported in the last few days that Mr Trump is considering pardoning him and Stone pleaded with the president to do it on Tuesday.

In a statement sent by text, he said: “I want the president to know that I have exhausted all my legal remedies and that only an act of clemency will provide justice in my case and save my life!”

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