We, at Black Lives Matter Global Network, are well aware that there are international actors, groups, and individuals actively working to undermine, interlope, and manipulate the liberation work of Black organizers. Fake accounts, scripted bot accounts, and scammers have fleeced our supporters for money. Organized fake Russian trolls post content in our name, and fake accounts purchase ads. Even this week, several fake Instagram accounts created by international actors were caught, including pages claiming to be Black Lives Matter accounts.
These attempts not only co-opt our messaging and raise money falsely and for unknown purposes, but also add to chaos, contribute to false rhetoric, and endanger our organizers and our communities. These hostile imposters impersonate Black Lives Matter Global Network, our Chapters, and others within the Black-led movement space.
Watch a CNN video with Anderson Cooper: “Fake black activist accounts linked to Russia.”
We only expect this activity to accelerate as the 2020 campaign election cycle continues. We are taking active steps to identify false actors and protect our community.
Combined with our own tools and diligence, we aim to empower our 1 million+ social media followers to help us identify and take down fake accounts, bots, and disinformation as they attempt to twist and manipulate our work and messaging.
How You Can Help
1. Be on the lookout for possible “fake accounts,” “suspicious tweets,” and “fake ads” and let us know.
Look at the account’s bio. Often bots use handles that are strings of alphanumeric characters. Some don’t have profile images, or use ones stolen from others on the web. Those are often accounts created by scripts, rather than humans.
Look for accounts that post and retweet in unnatural patterns. Some fake accounts are scripted to post 24 hours a day 7 days a week, with no sleeping. Accounts posting hundreds of posts per day are also suspicious, as are accounts that only seem to exist to repost and amplify others but never post original posts. Also, be wary of accounts and those who claim to be in the US, but almost always post from a non-US based time zone. Another sign of coordinated disinformation to watch for are multiple, apparently different accounts, posting the exact same message.
Look for Facebook or Twitter ads posted from such accounts. Or look for promoted posts, pages, or events from groups with names claiming to be part of the “Black Lives Matter” or “Black Lives” movement, but that you have never seen or heard of before.
Even if these accounts, pages, or groups have large numbers of followers, but seem inauthentic, please don’t assume they are real — let us know.
2. Look for content pushed in our name, but that is not of our values.
Black Lives Matter Global Network is very clear about who we are, what we believe, and what we stand for.
When you see posts, ads, or online accounts claiming to represent us, but speaking in ways that violate our values, that is a key sign that it may be inauthentic accounts trying to mislead you.
3. Report them: We will analyze and take action.
When you alert us to fake accounts, fake ads, and/or suspicious content, we will look deeper and work to get them removed.
We are committed to exposing and addressing fake actors who claim to work for and collect funds through the work of Black liberation, as well as being committed to the safety of our Chapters and organizers.