Facebook pulls 50 accounts associated with Trump ally Roger Stone

The fake accounts spent more than $300,000 in Facebook ads over the past few years

A shadowy figure using a smartphone in front of the Facebook logo

Facebook may have balked at being the “arbiter of truth” when it comes to fact-checking political posts, but it has no problem taking down fake accounts designed to inflate the engagement on political posts. Per Reuters, Facebook flexed its takedown muscles by removing 50 accounts associated with Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime advisor and ally.  

Stone, who’s due to report to prison next week for lying to Congress and witness tampering, and his associates allegedly used fake Facebook accounts and followers to promote his books and posts. Included in the takedowns were Stone’s personal Facebook and Instagram pages, and the Stone-founded Stone Cold Truth Facebook page. The latter had 141,000 followers. 

All told, Facebook pulled down 54 accounts and 50 pages for breaking the social media site’s rules on using fake accounts for political promotion. 

The takedowns not only impact Stone, but they also affect Facebook’s bottom line, as the deleted accounts spent over $300,000 in ads over the past few years. 

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, told Reuters, “It doesn’t matter what they’re saying, and it doesn’t matter who they are,” making it clear the takedown process is objective. Gleicher continued, “We expect we’re going to see more political actors cross this line and use coordinated inauthentic behavior to try to influence public debate.”

This is a step in the right direction for Facebook, but it’s still battling loads of bad press for not standing up to fake political ads and hate speech. The latter has resulted in a large boycott on Facebook ad spend in July

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