News & Politics

Russian Agents Used Facebook to Organize Pro-Trump 'Flash Mobs': Report

Events included rallies with names like "Down with Hillary!" and "Miners for Trump."

Photo Credit: Global Panorama/Flickr Creative Commons

new report from the Daily Beast sheds more light on how Russian intelligence operatives used Facebook to organize support for Donald Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 presidential election.

According to the report, a Russian-sponsored Facebook group called “Being Patriotic” helped organize and promote multiple Trump rallies and events throughout the election campaign, including a pro-Trump “flash mob” in Florida that was promoted by a local Trump campaign chairman, who posted photos from the event on his Facebook page.

“On August 20, we want to gather patriots on the streets of Floridian towns and cities and march to unite America and support Donald Trump!” said the Facebook event page for the events. “Our flash mob will occur in several places at the same time; more details about locations will be added later. Go Donald!”

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The “flash mobs” weren’t the only events that the Being Patriotic group organizer, either. The Daily Beast also found that “events promoted by the page last year included a July “Down With Hillary!” protest outside Clinton’s New York campaign headquarters, a September 11 pro-Trump demonstration in Manhattan, simultaneous “Miners for Trump” demonstrations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in October, and a pro-Trump rally outside Trump Tower last November, after his election victory.”

At its peak, Being Patriotic had 200,000 followers on Facebook. It was shut down last month, shortly before Facebook publicly disclosed that it had received cash from Russian groups for political ads during the 2016 election.

Brad Reed is a writer living in Boston. His work has previously appeared in the American Prospect Online, and he blogs frequently at Sadly, No!.