Facebook removes ‘inauthentic’ George Floyd groups

Facebook removes ‘inauthentic’ George Floyd groups

Suspicious Facebook group

Copyright of the image

Caption of the image

The suspected Facebook groups each attracted hundreds of members

Facebook has removed some justice groups for George Floyd for exhibiting “inauthentic behavior”.

A BBC News request follows, highlighting that some existing pages have been re-proposed to seek justice for the black man killed in police custody.

Some had previously focused on coronaviruses, 5G conspiracies and support for U.S. President Donald Trump.

And others, run by accounts apparently based in Vietnam or Bangladesh, had posted misleading images.

A Facebook spokesman said he had “removed the vast majority of them for violating our policies.”

Braking tensions

There was a wave of membership in Facebook groups in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following protests sparked by Floyd’s death on May 25th.

But it is not always clear what the motivations of their administrators are.

Copyright of the image

Caption of the image

Some of the groups had been repurposed from other activities

In some cases, they could take advantage of the movement to gain followers and / or feed tensions.

Some of the profiles based outside the United States had often published inflammatory images and videos before Facebook’s intervention.

One group, Justice for George Floyd, had nearly 2,000 members.

Established in March, it initially focused on coronavirus, but later that month he switched to “the latest American news”, with funny stories to the President of the United States, before moving on to Black Lives Matter.

In his final incarnation, two administrators – identified as in Vietnam – had repeatedly shared critical posts against protesters, including images of mistreated police cars preceding the current protests.

Copyright of the image

Caption of the image

This photo was published by one of the group administrators but precedes the current protests

Another group, Justice For George Floyd & Latest Updates, was managed by a profile that claimed to be based in Bangladesh.

The administrator’s profile photos had all been copied from other websites and included images of celebrities and animals.

And he used highly emotional language in contradictory places that supported both the police and the demonstrators.

Others included:

  • a group that changed its name from Join Donald Trump’s 2020 Winning Team to Justice For George Floyd & Stopping The Riots
  • a group called paranormal activity first renamed The Death Of George Floyd – Minneapolis

This would not be the first time that Black Lives Matter groups have been hijacked.

Investigations into foreign interference during the 2016 US presidential election accused Russia of being behind a disinformation campaign that had taken advantage of the movement.

However, no evidence has been presented to indicate that Moscow is involved this time.

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