Facebook removes network of inauthentic behavior tied to Roger Stone

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Roger Stone arrives for his sentencing at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, DC on February, 20, 2020.

Marvin Joseph | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Facebook on Wednesday announced it removed a network of more than 100 accounts and pages posting misinformation on the company’s social network with ties to Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and ally of President Donald Trump.

“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Facebook said in a statement.

The network of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” used Facebook to pose as Florida residents and post misinformation regarding local politics in Florida, land and water resource bills in Florida, material released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and Stone’s trial as well as his websites, books and media appearances.

The network was followed by more than 320,000 accounts across Facebook and Instagram. It consisted of 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook Pages and four Instagram accounts. The network spent $308,000 on Facebook ads.

This group was also active on other internet services besides Facebook, the company said.

The company began looking into this network as part of an investigation into the far-right group Proud Boys’ efforts to return to Facebook after it had been banned from the service in 2018.

Stone was convicted last fall of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. The charges were brought by a grand jury as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Stone, 67, is currently scheduled to report to federal prison next week. His lawyers recently asked a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., to delay his surrender date to at least early September, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in correctional institutions.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

–CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

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