Facebook boots Roger Stone from Instagram in crackdown on 'inauthentic' activity

Source: Politico | July 8, 2020 | Kyle Cheney and Steven Overly

The Trump confidant had been using the platform recently to advocate for clemency in bid to avoid jailtime.

President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone was booted from Instagram on Wednesday after Facebook determined he participated in an effort to spread “inauthentic” information — in some cases about his own criminal trial.

Stone, who is slated to go to prison next week, had been posting daily updates on Instagram about his efforts to stay out of jail and obtain a pardon from Trump. But late Wednesday, after Facebook’s announcement, his account was no longer available.

Facebook said Stone was tied to a network of deceptive accounts that posted about Florida and Stone himself, but did not provide further details on the posts’ content.

“The people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as residents of Florida, post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is, evade enforcement, and manage Pages,” Facebook’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in the company’s announcement of the move.

“Several of these Pages had links to Proud Boys, a hate group we banned in 2018. Some Pages appeared to have acquired followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make themselves seem more popular than they were.”

Facebook said the network that included Stone was “most active” from 2015 to 2017 and has been largely dormant since. But back then it regularly posted about local Florida politics and promoted Stone, as well as his books, websites and his media appearances. The pages also promoted Wikileaks releases of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton and her allies in late 2016.

The company said there were also posts about Stone’s trial. The two-week jury trial, which was scheduled by the judge in March 2019, began on Nov. 5 and ended with Stone’s conviction on Nov. 15 for repeatedly lying to congressional investigators pursuing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Stone is due to report to prison to begin a 40-month sentence on July 14.


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