walking like a puppet
On Nov. 12, 2016, thousands of people in New York City protested against Donald Trump, then the president-elect, by marching from Manhattan's Union Square to Trump Tower some 40 blocks away. At the time, PBS reported that the march was organized by BlackMatters, "a nonprofit news outlet which focuses on black issues in the United States."
In reality, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday, the event was hosted on Facebook by "BM, a known alias of the BlackMattersUS." Last month, Russian news outlet RBC outed BlackMattersUS as linked to the Internet Research Agency — a Russian troll farm operating out of St. Petersburg.
The BlackMattersUS page is no longer accessible on Facebook, but an archived events page shows the march had been shared with 61,000 people. Roughly 33,000 more were interested in the event, and 16,000 people marked themselves as "going."
The New York Daily News reported at the time that roughly 5,000 people ultimately attended the march. In September, The Daily Beast reported on Russian attempts to organize pro-Trump rallies during last year's election, and on Monday The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia-linked Facebook accounts helped organize events around fatal shootings of unarmed black men by police officers.
On Wednesday, House Democrats released a trove of data, metadata, Facebook ads, and Twitter accounts run by Russia-linked troll farms. Read more about the incendiary Russia-linked ads at The Daily Beast.