Tags: womens march | facebook | scam

Women's March Hit by Facebook T-shirt Scam

marchers holding signs

Thousands rally in Grant Park before the start of the Women's March Chicago on Oct. 13. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

By    |   Thursday, 18 October 2018 07:59 AM

The Women’s March which took the world by storm has been hit this year by a Facebook scam that has exploited the event to sell t-shirts, CNN revealed in an exclusive report this week, but Facebook was said to be slow to respond to complaints.

According to the report, a network of Facebook pages has sprung up over the last few months advertising the 2019 editions of the Women’s March across various states but giving the wrong dates for them.

A CNN investigation revealed that the pages were run from Bangladesh and designed to sell merchandise to would-be marchers.

Womens rights activist and web developer Ruby Sinreich was one person who received an invite for the 2019 edition of the Women’s March in Raleigh, Carolina, but on closer inspection she noticed several discrepancies.

For starters, the page was promoting the wrong date. It was also sharing posts with “weird, partisan memes that seemed totally out of character,” according to CNN.

“There are a lot of ways that it is damaging and dangerous,” Sinreich told CNN. “People show up on the wrong date and don't go to the actual event. People leave feeling angry and frustrated instead of feeling unified."

It turned out there were thousands of other pages and events created advertising false information pertaining to the Women’s March and, while some had no followers or attendees, others had received more than 10,000 RSVPs.

Local activists and event organizers criticized Facebook for not addressing the situation sooner.

Sara Gaba, the co-chair of Women's March Maine, told CNN she noticed a fake Women’s March event promoting the wrong date for Portland, Maine as far back as June but, after reporting it to the social media giant, the page remained up for months before being removed.

“Their customer service is lacking, you can't talk to a real human,” she said.

According to the Women’s March website, the campaign was designed to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.”

In the U.S., the marches that took place were said to be the largest day of protest in U.S. history, The Independent reported.

Event organizers told CNN that fake pages counteract what they are trying to achieve by preventing them from reaching those who need the information.

Many of the fake events were removed late September and October, but more have cropped up since.

One source told the news outlet that over 1,700 Facebook pages and corresponding events had been created in Bangladesh.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, said in a statement provided to CNN that people needed to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.

“That's why we have removed Pages and events associated with fake women's marches,” Stone said. “These Pages and events appear to have been created in order to profit from people interested in the event by selling march-related merchandise. We continue to investigate, remove additional associated fake events and Pages, and take action against those involved in creating them.”

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The Women’s March which took the world by storm has been hit this year by a Facebook scam that has exploited the event to sell t-shirts, but Facebook was said to be slow to respond to complaints.
womens march, facebook, scam
Thursday, 18 October 2018 07:59 AM
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