Facebook Removes Roger Stone for Ties to Fake Accounts

Facebook on Wednesday said it was removing the personal accounts of Roger J. Stone Jr., President Trump’s friend and ally, because they had ties to numerous fake accounts that were active around the 2016 presidential election.

The company made the announcement as part of its monthly report on removing disinformation. Mr. Stone’s personal accounts on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, were entwined with the U.S.-based network that had links to the Proud Boys, a group that promotes white supremacy, the company said. The social network banned the Proud Boys group in 2018.

“We first started looking into this network as part of our investigation into the Proud Boys’ attempt to return to Facebook after we had designated and banned them from the platform,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, wrote in a company blog post announcing Facebook’s takedown. “Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates.”

Mr. Stone, 67, is set to go to prison this month. In November, a jury convicted him on seven felonies, including lying to federal investigators, tampering with a witness and impeding a congressional inquiry. The charges were brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigators scrutinized Mr. Stone’s attempts during the 2016 presidential election to communicate with WikiLeaks about the release of Democratic emails that had been stolen by Russian operatives.

In a statement, Mr. Stone denied overseeing fake accounts on Facebook or Instagram. “This extraordinary active censorship for which Facebook and Instagram give entirely fabricated reasons,” he said, “is part of a larger effort to censor supporters of the president, Republicans and conservatives on social media platform. The claim that I have utilized or control unauthorized or fake accounts on any platform is categorically and provably false.”

This is not the first time that Mr. Stone has been kicked off a major social media platform. In October 2017, Mr. Stone was suspended from Twitter after insulting several CNN news anchors and contributors. In July 2019, the federal judge overseeing the case brought by Mr. Mueller ordered Mr. Stone off major social media platforms. The judge said Mr. Stone had violated a gag order by using them to attack the special counsel’s investigation and officials tied to it.

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