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Facebook Account ‘Blacktivist’ Reportedly Used by Russians to Heighten Racial Tensions

Among the content posted to Blacktivist were videos of police killings, marches for racial justice and the Black Panthers’ 50th anniversary party.

Voter Suppression
Voters wait in line to vote during early voting Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, in Sandy Springs , Ga. AP / John Bazemore

A popular social media account that appeared to advocate for racial equality was one of hundreds of social media pages used by Russians to control the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN.

On Wednesday, the network reported that the Facebook and Twitter pages operating under the name “Blacktivist” were linked to the Russian government to further its efforts to stoke racial tensions in the U.S. during election season. With a larger following than the Facebook account of the well-established Black Lives Matter movement, Blacktivist was effective in reaching an audience of 360,000 in its reported intent to widen America’s racial divide.

There aren’t yet confirmations of when the group’s Facebook account was created but its Twitter account was established in April 2016—just months before the election.

Among the content posted to Blacktivist were videos of police killings, marches for racial justice and the Black Panthers’ 50th anniversary party. The Blacktivist page is just one of 470 other Facebook accounts Congress has learned had ties to Russia in early September. CNN also notes the grammar used on some of the account’s more recent posts don’t reflect that of a native English speaker.

Both of Blacktivist’s social media pages have been shut down.

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