The Daily Beast: Russia-Backed Pro-Trump FB Groups Organized Rallies In Florida & PA

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

The Daily Beast just broke an exclusive story confirming that suspected propagandists used Facebook to organize at least a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during the presidential election. 

The Aug. 20, 2016, events were collectively called “Florida Goes Trump!” and they were billed as a “patriotic state-wide flash mob,” unfolding simultaneously in 17 different cities and towns in the battleground state. It’s difficult to determine how many of those locations actually witnessed any turnout, in part because Facebook’s recent deletion of hundreds of Russian accounts hid much of the evidence. But videos and photos from two of the locations—Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs—were reposted to a Facebook page run by the local Trump campaign chair, where they remain to this day.

“On August 20, we want to gather patriots on the streets of Floridian towns and cities and march to unite America and support Donald Trump!” read the Facebook event page for the demonstrations. “Our flash mob will occur in several places at the same time; more details about locations will be added later. Go Donald!”

The Being Patriotic FB group had 200,000 followers exposed to multiple pro-Trump, anti-Hillary events that included a 2016 July “Down With Hillary!” protest outside Clinton’s Brooklyn campaign headquarters, a September 11 pro-Trump demonstration in Manhattan, simultaneous October 2016 “Miners for Trump” demonstrations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Russians even organized a pro-Trump rally outside Trump Tower in November, when Trump was the president elect.