Facebook on Wednesday took down a network of more than 100 pages and accounts affiliated with Trump confidante Roger Stone for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”
The flamboyant political consultant confirmed to Fox News his accounts either have been restricted or taken down. Stone’s personal accounts were among 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook pages and four Instagram accounts closed for policy violations.
Around 260,000 accounts followed one or more of the Facebook pages and around 61,500 accounts followed one or more of the Instagram accounts. The network of accounts spent up to $308,000 on advertisements.
Of Stone’s personal accounts, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy for Facebook, said: “We saw them deeply enmeshed in the activity here.”
Facebook officials said that Stone, who’s since been convicted for lying to the FBI, used fake accounts to manipulate public debate. The “coordinated inauthentic behavior” dated back to the 2016 election and its aftermath.
ROGER STONE FILES APPEAL AFTER SAYING HE IS 'PRAYING FOR A PARDON' FROM TRUMP
Those behind the activity of the fake accounts posed as Florida residents to post and comment on their own content in order “to make it appear more popular than it is,” Facebook said in a statement.
Several of the Facebook pages had links to content of Proud Boys, which was designated as an extremist group by the FBI and banned by Facebook in 2018. Facebook said some of the pages appeared to have followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make them appear popular.
The pages and their owners posted about local Florida politics, Roger Stone and the Stone trial, as well as a Florida land and water resources bill, hacked material released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 election and candidates in the 2016 primary and general elections.
Facebook identified the network after a joint petition by a number of news organizations led to the public release of search warrants used in the Mueller investigation to investigate contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Gleicher said.
Facebook also took down a network of accounts affiliated with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, though Facebook said it was unclear if he had a role in the accounts. They took down four networks of accounts in total, primarily active in Ukraine and Latin America.
Stone was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after being convicted of making false statements to investigators during the Trump-Russia probe. President Trump said he would wait to consider possibly pardoning Stone until he’d exhausted all of his legal options. Stone filed an appeal of his conviction in April.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Stone is due to begin his prison sentence next week, after U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson delayed the deadline for him to report to prison due to coronavirus.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.