2 guys with Roger Stone banner
© Reuters/Tom Brenner
Facebook has banned dozens of pages allegedly linked to ex-Trump adviser and Republican operative Roger Stone, as well as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in its relentless battle against political 'misinformation networks'.

The 100-account network said to be linked to Stone, a Florida resident, was discovered in the course of an investigation into the right-wing group Proud Boys, banned from Facebook years ago, the social media behemoth revealed on Wednesday in a blog post. Some 54 accounts, 54 pages, and four Instagram accounts were removed in the purge. According to Facebook, the deleted accounts were followed by upwards of 320,000 people and had spent over $308,000 on Facebook ads.

Stone, a self-styled "dirty trickster" whose history with the Republican Party goes back decades, is due to report to federal prison next week on charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. His lawyers have petitioned to have his incarceration delayed due to the coronavirus, citing his age (67).

The former Trump advisor was barred from social media last July after federal judge Amy Berman Jackson accused him of breaching a gag order regarding his case. The accounts supposedly linked to him had posted about his website, books, and media appearances, as well as the WikiLeaks materials released in the runup to the 2016 election, Stone's trial, and a Florida land and water resources bill.

Comment: Links to a Website! Books! Media Appearances!...and a Water Resource Bill - you know, bad stuff.

In a separate move, Facebook has also deplatformed a network of 50 Facebook accounts and 38 Instagram accounts supposedly tied to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing the pages of posting misinformation about Brazilian politics. The pages were followed by some 883,000 Facebook users and 917,000 Instagram users.

While Facebook is rife with fake accounts - as many as half of the site's users are phony, according to a former classmate of CEO Mark Zuckerberg - the site has gone to great lengths to portray itself as tough on "foreign" influence networks, especially after it was blamed for Trump's 2016 electoral victory. While the US and allies including Israel have been caught operating networks of fake accounts attempting to sway elections both at home and in foreign countries, the platform insists it does not tolerate fake accounts and has gone to great - some might say excessive - lengths to deplatform "wrongthink" political speech.