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Russia-backed Facebook page colored with hot-button phrases

By: RYAN NAKASHIMA and LARRY FENN, Associated Press
October 12, 2017 Updated: October 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — What does Russia-sponsored political influence look like on Facebook?

An Associated Press analysis of the content on a now-shuttered Facebook page called "Being Patriotic" shows it's colored with words like "illegal," ''country" and "American" and phrases like "illegal alien," ''Sharia law" and "Welfare state."

"Being Patriotic" was among 470 pages and accounts that Facebook shut down in recent weeks in response to a congressional probe into Russian meddling in last year's election.

While Facebook says it deleted the posts this week, the AP was able to perform a content analysis based on the 500 most popular posts on the page, which was one of six Russia-influenced Facebook pages examined by Jonathan Albright, research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

Albright downloaded posts and metrics including the pages' followers and interactions using Facebook's analytics tool, CrowdTangle. The company has since disabled that functionality for deleted posts.

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