Facebook has put an end to the brainwashing of innocent Trump supporters who have been told to support Trump by a Chinese spiritual group. And thus, it puts a bow on 2019.
Today, Facebook announced that it’s taken down hundreds of sock puppet accounts and pages–610 Facebook accounts, 156 groups, 89 pages, and 72 Instagram accounts–operated from both the US and Vietnam and operated by a newspaper-style, pro-Trump entity called The BL, or the Beauty of Life, with indirect ties to the Falun Gong religious sect. The BL has paid Facebook less than $US9.5 ($14) million for ads in numerous currencies; Facebook claims that The BL used “a combination of fake and authentic accounts of local individuals in the US to manage Pages and Groups” in order to evade detection. The violations include “inauthentic behaviour, spam, and misrepresentation.”
The examples that Facebook has revealed aren’t so much Deep State conspiracy or paranormal tales–more like the unedited Republican rhetoric that’s on their homepage as we speak. One displays a news headline about Elizabeth Warren’s fired campaign staffer; another, in Spanish, Trump whining that he’s being treated unfairly. As Facebook reports, the accounts typically pumped out “memes and other content about US political news and issues including impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, elections, trade, family values and freedom of religion.” Pretty tame stuff compared to what the Trump campaign itself is posting.
Then it gets so wild and intricate and global that Alex Jones couldn’t make this shit up about Nancy Pelosi if he were on methamphetamine.
Facebook says their investigation revealed ties between The BL and Epoch Media Group, which owns the Epoch Times, a QAnon-adhering Trump vehicle with a focus on China. Snopes broke this story months ago, revealing that the BL shares executives and current and former employees with the Epoch Times. In turn, Epoch Media Group was founded by members of the mystical Chinese sect the Falun Gong, which aims to overthrow the Chinese government, and, as NBC News has reported, “believes in an upcoming judgment day that will send communists to hell, and says that Trump is helping accelerate that timeline.” Former Epoch Times staffers told NBC News that the Epoch Times and Falun Gong share this M.O.
“The founders of The Epoch Times believed in truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, the principles of Falun Gong,” Epoch Times editor in chief Jasper Fakkert told Gizmodo in an email. “That said, The Epoch Times is an independently owned media and not owned or operated by Falun Gong.”
Maybe they believe Donald Trump possesses the almighty power to send communists to hell. Maybe they’re just God-loving patriotic Americans. Certainly, they are hellbent on getting this man reelected. Facebook banned them from buying ads this summer after they reportedly spent $US2 ($3) million to covertly peddle videos with conspiracies involving Epstein-Clinton ties and the Russia investigation, under Facebook pages like the inconspicuously named “Honest Paper.” (Fakkert told Gizmodo that The Epoch Times has never paid anyone to independently post Facebook content on its behalf.)
The Epoch Times and the BL have mutually denied ties, though The Epoch Times has acknowledged the staff overlap. “The BL was founded by a former employee, and employs some of our former employees,” The Epoch Times wrote today. “However, that some of our former employees work for BL is not evidence of any connection between the two organisations.”
Facebook tells Gizmodo that, in accordance with its policies, the BL will not be getting a refund.