'Black Lives Matter' page on Facebook with over seven lakh followers is fake, operated by an Australian man: Claims report

The biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook was fake with ties to a middle-aged white man in Australia, according to a CNN report.

San Francisco: The biggest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook was fake with ties to a middle-aged white man in Australia, according to a CNN report.

The page, simply titled "Black Lives Matter," had almost 7,00,000 followers on Facebook, more than twice as many as the official Black Lives Matter page, the report said late Monday. It was tied to online fundraisers that brought in at least $1,00,000 that supposedly went to Black Lives Matter causes in the United States. At least some of the money, however, was transferred to Australian bank accounts, as per the report.

Representational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

The page consistently linked to websites tied to Ian Mackay, a National Union of Workers official in Australia. The union represents thousands of workers across various industries. Mackay has registered dozens of websites, many on issues tied to black rights. In April 2015, Mackay registered blackpowerfist.com. Mackay's name, email address, phone number and other details appeared in the registration records for the site until July 2015, when the website enabled a feature that allows site owners to hide their identities and contact information.

Fundraising campaigns associated with the Facebook page were suspended by PayPal and Patreon after CNN contacted each of the companies for comment. Donorbox and Classy had already removed the campaigns.

The discovery raises new questions about the integrity of Facebook's platform and the content hosted on the social media platform. Even as its founder Mark Zuckerberg submitted his testimony before the Congress on Tuesday, the social media giant has announced plans to make the people running large pages verify their identity and location.

Only after almost a week of emails and calls between CNN and Facebook about this story, the page was suspended. Facebook was told of concerns about the page some time ago, Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, told CNN. Black Lives Matter upon suspecting the page was a scam, contacted Facebook about removing it a few months ago, she added.

Black Lives Matter is a global movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against racism and other violence towards black people.

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