A Lone Journalist Just Got a Giant Pro-Trump Ukrainian Propaganda Outlet Removed from Facebook

The page ”I Love America” had reportedly been repurposing memes distributed by the Russian group highlighted in the Mueller Report

Since 2017, the seemingly uber-patriotic Facebook group “I Love America” had attracted more than 1.1 million followers with a constant stream of pro-Trump, anti-Democrat posts, sprinkled with a healthy dose of “Support the Troops” messages, along with ample photos of adorable cats and dogs. Yesterday, journalist Judd Legum revealed on Twitter and his online newsletter Popular Information that he’d discovered the page was run by supporters of Donald Trump in the Ukraine.

Legum warned, “It’s the tip of the iceberg,” in an all-day campaign that would end with the group’s destruction.

Early on, Legum alerted readers that “’I Love America’ is repurposing memes used by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group highlighted in the Mueller report that interfered in the 2016 election,” adding, “The big difference is this operation is MUCH BIGGER.”

In the last 90 days, the network of pages reached more than 30 million people. “More than The New York Times and The Washington Post COMBINED,” Legum wrote.

He also notes in his Popular Information piece that, “I Love America” is managed “by ten people based in Ukraine. (There is also one manager from Kazakhstan, one from France, and one from the United States.) A website that was previously linked in the ‘About’ section of the ‘I Love America’ page is registered to Andriy Zyuzikov, an online strategist from the Ukrainian city of Odessa.”

Still, even as the comments sections on “ILA” posts became overrun with users outing the group as a foreign troll force, Facebook overlords remained unwilling to take action for hours.

“Facebook tells me this network of Ukrainians pretending to be American, pushing pro-Trump propaganda DOESN’T VIOLATE ITS POLICIES,” Legum tweeted.

Even Kremlin-run propaganda site Sputnik tried debunk the reports in a desperate, last-minute effort.

As per their usual M.O., the crisp media minds at FB HQ finally relented—after sustaining far more P.R. damage than was ever remotely necessary.

According to The Washington Post, “Facebook said it had not detected links to any nation-state actor but that its investigation was still ongoing.”

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