Sep 12, 2017

Kremlin-linked operatives used Facebook to organize political events in U.S.

Jeff Chiu / AP

Russian operatives with reported links to the Russian government remotely organized anti-immigrant rallies in the U.S. by using Facebook Events, The Daily Beast reports.

The events reportedly included an August 2016 anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rally in Idaho. The Facebook page behind that event had 133,000 followers when the social network shut it down last month.

This comes after Facebook last week confirmed a Russian company with links to the Kremlin was spreading politically aligned ads to Americans before and after the election using a $100,000 ad buy.

A Facebook spokesperson told Axios it "shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week." The company didn't explicitly confirm The Daily Beast's reporting, including on the contents of the events they took down. And as Gizmodo reports, it's not clear if these ads actually resulted in people showing up at these events.

Facebook is cooperating with the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and last week staff members briefed Senate and House committees on the $100,000 ad buy. Right now, Facebook is not required to attach disclaimers for political dollars funneling into the platform.

The big picture: This is raising questions about whether media is capable of manipulating democracy, as Axios' Sara Fischer reports.

Go deeper: Russia revelations spark demands for new media revelations.

Go deeper

George W. Bush breaks silence on George Floyd

Goerge Bush in Michigan in 2009. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush (R) wrote in a statement Tuesday that he and his wife, Laura, are "anguished" by the death of George Floyd, and said that "it is time for America to examine our tragic failures."

Why it matters: It's a stark juxtaposition when compared to fellow Republican President Trump's response to current civil unrest. While Trump has called for justice in Floyd's death, he's also condemned protestors and threatened to deploy military personnel if demonstrations continue.

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 8th day

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced an investigation on Tuesday into the conduct of the Minneapolis Police Department over the past decade, after filing a civil rights charge related to the death of George Floyd.

Minnesota files civil rights charge against police over George Floyd's killing

Police spray protesters with pepper spray during a demonstration outside the Third Police Precinct on Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced an investigation on Tuesday into the conduct of the Minneapolis Police Department over the past decade, alongside a civil rights charge into the killing of George Floyd.

The big picture: Complaints of excessive force brought against the city's law enforcement officers "have become commonplace, especially by African-American residents," the New York Times reports.