Russian government secretly ran a gay Facebook page
Russian government agents secretly ran a Facebook page aimed at gay Americans, it has been confirmed.
Russia’s involvement in online propaganda aimed at US citizens has developed into a major scandal this month, as reports exposed paid Facebook promotion for posts targeted at people in the US.
Investigations have exposed a complex Russian subversion operation targeted a multitude of groups in the US, with Facebook confirming it has shuttered hundreds of pages that were confirmed to be the product of a Russian government-run content farm.
Among the pages operated by the Russian propaganda network is ‘LGBT United’, a Facebook page that claims to speak “for all fellow members of LGBT community across the nation”.
According to the Washington Post, other pages targeted at US citizens run by Russia included ‘Blacktivists’, ‘United Muslims of America’, ‘Being Patriotic’, ‘Heart of Texas’ and ‘Secured Borders’.
Social media analyst Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, looked at the influence of the pages.
His analysis found that posts from LGBT United received more than 5 million shares.
The page seldom referenced the 2016 election, primarily dedicating itself to building an influence base among LGBT people, as well as potentially ‘drowning out’ election coverage from legitimate LGBT outlets.
Much of its activity was dedicated to sharing memes and posts supportive of LGBT people, with its fictional author referring to herself as a lesbian.
It did appear critical of mainstream Republicans, branding a supporter of Ted Cruz a “thunderc*nt”.
Albright said: “The tone of the posts [from the different pages] varies strikingly… the one seemingly managed by a lesbian is intimate, confidential and chatty, with complaints about parents and teachers not understanding the challenges of being young and gay.
“The English is nearly flawless. One popular post said simply, ‘Bi and proud!’ with a thumbs-up emoji attached to the end.”
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