Russia’s propaganda machine used fake Facebook users to plan and promote a protest targeting an Idaho city facing false claims of Syrian refugees raping a child, according to a report.
The social media giant pulled “several promoted events” aimed at spreading anti-Muslim rhetoric during the presidential election. Secured Borders organized one such protest, “Citizens before refugees,” which was slated for Aug. 27, 2016, in Twin Falls, the Daily Beast reported Monday.
Their Facebook invite is no longer publicly available except for a cached version that said at least 48 people were interested in attending. Its description called on demonstrators to rally for three hours at the city council chambers as Twin Falls authorities tried dashing allegations that Syrian refugees sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl at knifepoint.
Four accounts said they attended the meetup.
“Due to the town of Twin falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society’s attention to this problem,” the event stated.
Secured Borders has since been outed as a Russian front, according to the BBC.
The Times-News reported over the summer that no Syrian refugees had been settled in Twin Falls through the state’s refugee program, citing the Idaho Office for Refugees. Breitbart and InfoWars were among the pro-Trump outlets that pushed the narrative.
Facebook officials said last week that Russian-linked operatives used about 470 “inauthentic accounts” to spend $100,000 on advertising.
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