Misinformation

Fake Facebook pages for veterans raised cash, spread lies for years

Photo of a man wearing a vest and a hat with Vietnam veteran patches
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty

More than 150 Facebook pages targeting American soldiers and veterans — with a total reach of more than 32 million people — dealt lies and propaganda for years, many while soliciting donations, according to a new investigation from a leading veterans' group.

What's happening: About a third of these pages and groups, mostly controlled from overseas, were taken down after they were reported to Facebook. Others remain up, gathering followers and sowing divisions — and illustrating the failure of social networks and law enforcement to curb online disinformation.

How reporters outsmart the internet trolls

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some of the top journalists covering misinformation today look less like reporters and more like cyber investigators, combining new technologies with old-school journalism principles to outsmart the trolls working to undermine them ahead of the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The troll playbook has shifted since the last election, when fringe internet actors sought to sow discord by spreading divisive messages. Today, their main focus is to discredit the news media, often by uncovering potentially harmful information about journalists or by tricking them into reporting false information.