Chairwoman Maloney Requests Information on Facebook’s Efforts to Combat Foreign-Backed, Stolen, and Fake Accounts Linked to Blockade in Canada
Washington, D.C. (February 14, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman and CEO of Meta, requesting information on the company’s efforts to curb fake Facebook accounts connected to a blockade in Canada that has impacted vital U.S.-Canada border crossings and trade routes.
“I am concerned by reports that stolen and fake accounts on Facebook are behind large-scale organizing and fundraising efforts related to a blockade in Canada that has impacted vital U.S.-Canada border crossings and cross-border trade. These reports are particularly alarming given Facebook’s history of amplifying toxic content, extremism, and disinformation, including from Russia and other foreign actors. Although organizations representing American truckers have condemned the blockade, similar convoys are reportedly being promoted by fake Facebook accounts to occur in the United States,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney.
Recent reports indicate that a Missouri woman’s hacked Facebook account was behind the creation of some of the largest Facebook groups organizing the “Freedom Convoy” blockade in Ottawa, Canada. Between January 26 and January 28, 2022, the account launched several Facebook groups that grew to include more than 340,000 combined members and have attracted online support from far-right groups and raised millions of dollars in funds. Recently, Facebook has confirmed that fake accounts run out of overseas content mills in countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Romania have also been behind content promoting the “Freedom Convoy.”
Although Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has stated that it removed dozens of Facebook groups and pages related to the “Freedom Convoy,” it is unclear whether inauthentic behavior related to the blockade continues despite Meta’s efforts. The Committee requested information from Meta on these fake and stolen accounts and the company’s efforts to combat them by February 28, 2022.
Click here to read the letter.