Russian operatives used Facebook's event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the United States – including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho, The Daily Beast reported.
Facebook told the outlet it had "shut down several promoted events" as part of its "takedown" of 470 Russia-linked accounts that spread propaganda last week.
"This is the next step," former FBI agent and expert on Russia's influence campaign Clint Watts told The Daily Beast.
"The objective of influence is to create behavior change. The simplest behavior is to have someone disseminate propaganda that Russia created and seeded. The second part of behavior influence is when you can get people to physically do something."
Though much of the Russian Facebook propaganda campaign has since been deleted, The Daily Beast reported some remains via search engines of cached pages, including a 2016 notice on Facebook Events announcing an Aug. 27 anti-Muslim refugee rally in rural Twin Falls, Idaho.
"Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society's attention to this problem," the event notice began, according to The Daily Beast.
The three-hour protest was titled "Citizens before refugees."
According to The Daily Beast, the rally was hosted by "SecuredBorders," which the outlet described an anti-immigration community that served as a Russian front. The Facebook page had 133,000 followers when Facebook closed it last month, The Daily Beast reported.
SecuredBorders was reportedly managed through a St. Petersburg-based media conglomerate owned by Russian businessman Yevgeny Pridozhin, a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Newsweek reported.
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