Report: Russian-linked Facebook accounts promoted violence among Americans

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Facebook accounts created by the Russian Internet Research Agency prior to the 2016 presidential election were encouraging Americans to use violence against groups with opposing ideologies, such as Black Lives Matter activists and police officers, according to a report from CNN Tuesday.

A Facebook account with the name “Being Patriotic” said Black Lives Matter activists who don’t respect the flag should be “immediately shot.”

“Blacktivist” was the name of another Russia-linked group. In November 2016, a post on Blacktivist read, “Black people have to do something. An eye for an eye. The law enforcement officers keep harassing and killing us without consequences.”

A third group, called “Secured Borders,” proposed that the only way to deal with “dangerous illegal aliens” is to “kill them all.”

“If you get deported that’s your only warning. You come back you get shot and rolled into a ditch… BANG, problem solved,” read one post from Secured Borders.

“The state department needs to be burned to the ground and the rubble reduced to ashes,” according to another.

Mark R. Jacobson, a Georgetown University professor and expert on Russian-influenced operations, said that 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.”

He noted that the Russian objective in creating a hateful narrative is much more brutal: “They want violent clashes.”

Top lawyers from Facebook, Google and Twitter will answer questions on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the role the companies may have played in Russia’s attempt to influence the U.S. presidential election. On Tuesday, the same company representatives will testify before a Senate Judiciary panel.

Social media and tech companies have been under intense scrutiny since Facebook disclosed that a firm with ties to Russia bought $100,000 in political advertisements in the months prior to the 2016 vote.

In late September, Twitter also announced they had discovered more than 200 accounts on their site which could be linked to Russian election interference.

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