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FB Accounts Linked To Russian Firm Promoted Violence

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Facebook pages linked to a Russian internet firm spread posts during and after the 2016 election campaign that encouraged violence, according to a CNN Money report.

Pages referred to in the CNN report included Be Patriotic, which posted material in support of Donald Trump, and Blacktivist, which appealed to people protesting police shootings such as Black Lives Matter.

The CNN report mentioned that intelligence agencies say the Internet Research Agency is linked to the Kremlin. But CNN did not provide details on the alleged ties.

A Be Patriotic post from April 2016 stated that BLM activists who disrespected the American flag should "be immediately shot," according to CNN.

In November 2016, Blacktivist wrote in a post: "Black people have to do something. An eye for an eye. The law enforcement officers keep harassing and killing us without consequences."

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Secure Borders, a page posting anti-immigrant material, complained about the alleged problems with undocumented immigrants in March 2017.

"The only way to deal with them is to kill them all," it wrote.

Some of the posts gained tens of thousands of likes, comments and shares.

The information was released as Facebook and Twitter executives provided testimony to Congress regarding their findings about alleged Russian interference into the presidential election campaign.

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"The Russians don't want groups like Black Lives Matter and the Alt-Right to sit there and have discussions and debates about the future of America," stated Mark Jacobson, a professor at Georgetown University. "They want violent clashes." 

He likened the current situation to the Cold War, when he said that the Soviet Union incited conflicts among domestic movements in the United States.

"If we start to see violent rallies ... we should start to look for the hidden hand of Russian influence behind it," he added.

However, it remains unclear who is behind the accounts being designated as run by Russian operatives. Charlie Peach, an Atlanta-based African-American rights activist, told RT that her Twitter account was among the 201 accounts the company blocked as suspected Russian bots.

"This could upend my personal life," Peach told RT. "I don't know how far deep it goes with these people. But I don't want to get on an airplane and my passport causes issues because of this."

The figures given by Twitter and Facebook executives regarding posts allegedly made by Russian operatives during the election period amounted to 0.74 and 0.004 percent of all election-related posts respectively.

Twitter has banned RT and Sputnik, two Russian news sites, from advertising on its platform.

Sources: CNN Money, RT(2) / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, The All-Nite Images/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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