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Facebook vows to take down Ukraine-run pages that love Trump

Facebook vows to take down Ukraine-run pages that love Trump
[Photos: Shealah Craighead/The White House/Flickr; 1966666/Pixabay]

A network of Ukraine-administered Facebook pages has been posting content geared to Americans, promoting President Trump and attacking his critics, reports Popular Information, a newsletter from the liberal journalist Judd Legum.

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Among the pages is one titled “I Love America,” which shares generic patriotic content alongside pro-Trump memes with its more than 1 million followers. Facebook data indicates that it’s run by 10 people in Ukraine, someone in the United States, and someone in Russia, according to the report.

Other pages share a mix of apolitical viral content about religion or cute pets, interspersed with reposts from other sites in an apparent Ukraine-run network. Facebook has rules against “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” but the company told Popular Information that the pages didn’t violate its policies. Later on, Facebook told Fast Company it was taking down the pages, which appeared to no longer be available on the site.

“We are removing these Pages for violating our policies against spam and fake accounts, and are continuing to investigate for any further violations,” Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne wrote in an email to Fast Company.

The company came under widespread criticism after reports that during the 2016 election cycle, it allowed people in foreign countries to post political material aimed at U.S. audiences, often using page names that implied a false U.S. connection. That included affiliates of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, an online propaganda outfit. Since then, it’s introduced new policies and a tool that lets users see where the administrators of a particular page live.

Separately, the nonprofit Vietnam Veterans for America recently reported that pages with names implying they’re run by and for U.S. veterans appear actually to be run from overseas, with many posting material supporting Trump and attacking his opponents and former special counsel Robert Mueller.

This story and headline have been updated to reflect a statement from Facebook in which the company said it would remove offending pages.

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