19 of the top 20 Facebook pages for American Christians are run by Eastern European troll farms

Regulars on the first Christian Facebook page of 2019, Be Happy Enjoy Life, are unlikely to care that the page is run by an Eastern European troll farm. They would just be happy if the propagandists led by Putin would do the Lord’s work.

MIT Technology Review received an internal report from Facebook from 2019 and learned that the Eastern European troll farm “has content reaching 140 million US users per month, 75% of whom had never followed any of the pages.”

The report found that the troll farms were reaching the same demographic groups as the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency (IRA) in the 2016 election, which targeted Christians, Black Americans and Native Americans. A 2018 BuzzFeed News survey found that at least one Russian IRA member, indicted for alleged interference in the 2016 US election, had also visited Macedonia around the emergence of its first troll farms, although he did not found no concrete evidence of a link. (Facebook said its investigations also failed to reveal a link between the IRA and Macedonian troll farms.)

“It’s not normal. It’s not healthy”, [the report’s author, Jeff Allen, a former senior-level data scientist at Facebook] wrote. “We have allowed inauthentic actors to accumulate huge followers for largely unknown purposes… The fact that actors with possible connections to the IRA have access to a considerable number of audiences in the same demographic groups targeted by the IRA poses a huge risk to the 2020 US election. “

MIT Technology Review has also learned that five of Facebook’s top 20 Christian pages are still active and still run by trolls.

[By Gil – Own work, CC BY 2.0]

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