It seems that more and more, Facebook is becoming a battlefield of political ideologies with stories that sound like something written by Tom Clancy. Early Friday morning, Examiner.com was given a long list of approximately 80 conservative Facebook pages targeted by liberal "trolls" for infiltration and takeover by someone who only wished to be identified as "AJ," an administrator of a targeted page.
"AJ" said the list was posted to the new "Citizens' Post" page, apparently by accident.
"AJ" added: "When they figured out what they did, they deleted their one facebook page where they all had been gathering."
Several pro-gun pages were listed along with a Facebook page supporting the South Carolina Tea Party.
This writer's Facebook page was also listed.
The message concluded with the phrase "Moar Gotes," an apparent reference to a technique used by Facebook liberals as "goating," where pages are infiltrated and taken over by users posting multiple pictures and memes involving goats.
On Wednesday, Examiner.com's David Thornton said in an online radio interview that liberal "trolls" have done this to a number of conservative pages.
One of the ways this happens, he said, is that a "troll" will "con" his or her way into the good graces of a page owner by posing as a conservative. This, he added, could take months. Once the person has been granted the appropriate privileges, he or she then takes over, removing all other administrators and flooding the page with various goat memes.
In an article written earlier in January, Thornton explained:
Jason Doolin, owner of the conservative Citizens’ Post page on Facebook, said that Patrick Blair, allegedly a representative of The Freedom Alliance contacted him several months ago about helping him to expand his page. Blair gained his trust over a period of months. There is a real Freedom Alliance as well, a Virginia based charity organized as 501(c)(3) organization that educates young Americans in civic responsibility and provides scholarships to the children of American soldiers.
"Blair," Thornton added, "apparently operated several fake conservative Facebook pages and websites as a cover."
According to Thornton, Blair conned other conservatives into helping him, only to delete their work later on, replacing it with goats. He also reportedly admitted "duping conservatives and 'goating' their pages."
Thornton said he was uncertain why goats are used, but some have suggested a possible link to Satanism.
“We took the goats for what they are, symbols of Satanism," one page administrator called "Miss Lilly" told Thornton, although there is no evidence to suggest any of those involved are actually Satanist.
Thornton reported that some "have made anti-Christian and anti-religious postings on their pages," however.
Our investigation into this list revealed a tenuous link to the "Goatz Alliance" Thornton spotted, but we were unable to trace it to the exact same individuals.
Facebook says it “respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights,” but getting help from the social media giant is nearly impossible as the company rarely responds to calls for help.
One Facebook page provides a procedure for reclaiming a business page, but that process could take up to a week or more.
In the meantime, owners of conservative pages should be extremely careful about those with whom they operate. Moreover, they should carefully examine and thoroughly vet those listed as administrators.
Above all, page owners should never, ever, grant manager access to anyone they do not know extremely well.
A full list of pages targeted for attack can be seen here.
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