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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:12 PM

Shuttered Facebook group that organized anti-Clinton, anti-immigrant rallies across Texas ... [View all]

Source: Business Insider

Shuttered Facebook group that organized anti-Clinton, anti-immigrant rallies across Texas was linked to Russia

Natasha Bertrand

A Russia-linked Facebook group attempted to organize a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary Clinton rallies across Texas last November, three days before the election and months after Russian operatives used the social-media platform to organize an anti-refugee-resettlement protest in rural Idaho.

The group, called Heart of Texas, had over 225,000 followers as of last summer. It was shut down last week as part of Facebook's takedown of accounts and pages "affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia," a Facebook spokesman told Business Insider on Wednesday.

Casey Michel, a journalist who has spent years tracing US secession movements to Russia, tracked the group's activity throughout the election and determined it was more than just a platform for far-right Texas secessionists.

Several signs pointed to the page being a Russian influence operation, including a lack of contact information and ads, and a corresponding Twitter account created in November 2015 right around the time Facebook experienced a surge in Russia-linked, fake accounts, Michel said. Its "about" section read only: "Texas's the land protected by Lord."

A screenshot from Heart of Texas, a Russia-linked Facebook group that has since been shut down. Screenshot/Facebook

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-group-russia-texas-anti-immigrant-rallies-2017-9

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