Facebook removes Roger Stone from Instagram after linking him to fake accounts

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tells CNN Business' Donie O'Sullivan that Facebook has a long way to go in its effort to fight hate and discrimination on the platform.

Posted: Jul 8, 2020 4:20 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2020 4:20 PM

Facebook announced Wednesday it had shut down pages and accounts linked to Roger Stone and Proud Boys, a far-right group Facebook has banned under its hate policies. Stone's own Instagram account was shut down as part of the takedown.

The network of more than 100 Facebook pages, accounts and Instagram accounts spent more than $300,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads to promote their posts. Some of the pages and accounts included false personas, an analysis commissioned by Facebook found.

The pages posted about the hacked materials released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election, politics in Florida, and Roger Stone himself, among other topics, Facebook said. The pages were also active around the time of Stone's trial in 2019, said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, in a press call Wednesday.

"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," Gleicher wrote in a blog post Wednesday. Facebook banned the Proud Boys from its platform in 2018.

"Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates," he added. Several of those pages had links to Proud Boys, he said. Facebook found no links between these pages and foreign entities.

Gleicher said some of the accounts posed as residents of Florida and would "post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is."

"We identified the full scope of this network following the recent public release of search warrants pertaining to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in response to a joint petition from The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and Politico," he added.

Based on those search warrants, CNN reported in April about the federal investigation into Stone's activities on Facebook. According to court records, Stone's assistant said Stone purchased "a couple hundred fake Facebook accounts" in 2016 and used them to promote leaked Democratic documents that would help the Trump campaign. The network was also spreading content countering the US government's findings that Russian hackers stole from Democrats and later gave hacked documents to WikiLeaks for publication—which Stone had also pursued behind the scenes.

Stone's longstanding connection to the Proud Boys has been well-documented. Members of the group attended court hearings last year, forming a core support group for Stone and his family members during the trial, CNN has reported.

The announcement by Facebook comes six days before Stone is scheduled to surrender at a federal prison in Georgia to serve a 40-month sentence. A jury in Washington, DC, found him guilty of seven charges last November, for lying to and obstructing Congress and threatening a witness, regarding his attempts to contact WikiLeaks in the 2016 election as a way to help the Trump campaign. Stone lied, prosecutors said, in part to protect the President.

Stone has been particularly active in recent days, as speculation has swirled that President Donald Trump could pardon him or commute his sentence, preventing him from going to prison.

A certified Roger Stone account on the alternative social media site Parler shared news of his banning Wednesday afternoon, along with a quote: "We have been exposing the railroad job that was so deep and so obvious during my trial, which is why they must silence me. As they will soon learn, I cannot and will not be silenced."

Stone was booted from Twitter in 2017 but found a new home on Instagram, spreading wild conspiracy theories about the Mueller investigation and his own criminal case. In recent weeks, Stone has repeatedly posted about his upcoming prison term and publicly asked Trump for a pardon.

Stone has a history of posting inflammatory messages on social media — to the point where a judge ordered him to remain silent and stopped his use of some social media accounts during his court proceedings.

Even while he was under the gag order, Stone dabbled in online propaganda, prosecutors said and CNN has found.

Terre Haute
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Indianapolis
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Rockville
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 65°
Casey
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 69°
Brazil
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Possible strong storms tonight
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 195380

Reported Deaths: 7845
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1114474928
Lake12670446
DuPage12233520
Kane9759305
Will9236344
St. Clair4006161
Winnebago3779131
McHenry3189114
Madison259176
Kankakee178268
Rock Island174536
Champaign166919
Peoria160735
Kendall137723
Unassigned1368209
Sangamon124733
DeKalb93630
LaSalle76624
Boone76523
Jackson71719
McLean65115
Macon62423
Adams5195
Tazewell5188
Coles47220
Randolph4647
Ogle4105
Clinton40717
Williamson3996
Whiteside35517
Stephenson3276
Grundy3235
Union32123
Monroe31813
Knox2991
Jefferson28619
Iroquois26311
Morgan2496
Henry2341
Vermilion2342
Cass23111
Bureau2053
Warren1900
Perry1841
Macoupin1793
Franklin1780
Lee1711
Montgomery1707
Marion1560
Effingham1551
Woodford1513
McDonough14315
Christian1424
Saline1322
Jo Daviess1251
Douglas1162
Livingston1152
Logan1120
Jersey1052
Pulaski931
Clark822
Shelby791
Mercer754
Moultrie730
White680
Johnson670
Fayette663
Washington660
Piatt610
Wayne611
Bond603
Jasper597
Carroll564
Menard560
Cumberland552
Hancock531
Gallatin512
Ford492
Lawrence470
Mason470
Greene430
Massac390
Alexander370
Wabash350
De Witt330
Fulton330
Crawford290
Hamilton290
Edgar280
Marshall260
Clay230
Pike210
Scott210
Richland190
Edwards180
Hardin180
Schuyler180
Brown140
Putnam130
Henderson120
Calhoun90
Pope90
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206