Facebook shuts down Pro-Trump group by impersonating “official Kayleigh McEnany fan page”

Snopes may be known for debunking urban legends, hoaxes, and folklore, but our journalistic efforts go far beyond that. Investigations of inauthentic behavior seek to expose bad actors and their methods. These stories also document trends in the gaps of social media platforms, particularly when it comes to US politics.

Facebook appears to have taken action on a popular White House-themed Facebook group, Kayleigh McEnany. Kayleigh McEnany’s official fan page disappeared in October 2020. There is no indication that McEnany or the White House were involved. The private group was created on May 1, 2020 and has established more than 475,000 members, an average growth of nearly 100,000 members per month.

These numbers bear similarities to another group Snopes mentioned after Facebook deleted them in August. This group, Kayleigh McEnany Official, was operated from North Macedonia and had over 456,000 members. Facebook told us in September that Kayleigh McEnany Official had been removed “as part of the routine enforcement against spam and inauthentic behavior, as she used a range of deceptive techniques to increase their popularity on our platform.” They also told us that the group’s leadership “uses compromised accounts to mislead people as to where it comes from, make their content appear more popular than it is, and lead them to off-platform domains filled with problems.” ‘pay-per-click ads to YouTube’.

The more recently deleted official Kayleigh McEnany fan page does not appear to have been operated from North Macedonia, but it may have been deleted for similar reasons. He may have increased his popularity with deceptive techniques in order to build a massive member base quickly. We contacted Facebook about this group, but only received this statement in response: “We regularly monitor groups and pages through a combination of automation experts and content reviewers, and are taking action. swift when our community standards are violated. “

The administrators listed for the official Kayleigh McEnany fan page were Nicholas Zulu and Angela Lutz Hart. Zulu’s account has a different last name in its URL, facebook.com/nicolaszeller. Hart’s account has since disappeared from Facebook. Both accounts were also administrators in the Facebook group named The Constitutional Conservative Patriot Page, with only Zulu to manage it now. Attempts to reach either person were unsuccessful.

A piece of content posted by Zulu on June 20 appeared to be disinformation about COVID-19. At the time, cases and deaths were on the rise in the United States

Zulu also invited Kayleigh McEnany and her husband, Sean Gilmartin, to join the group via Twitter:

None of them appeared to respond to the invitation.

After the creation of the Facebook group on May 1, 2020, it added 50,000 members as of June 14. Between June 14 and 19, Kayleigh McEnany’s official fan page added 100,000 new members. Between June 19 and July 1, the group added 100,000 more members, bringing its total to over 250,000. As of July 11, the group had 300,000 members. Zulu posted that day: “Great content to honor Kayleigh, Trump, the Tories and Jesus. The group reached 400,000 members as of July 30, having been formed just three months earlier.

Previously, when Kayleigh McEnany’s official fan page had only 40,000 members, Zulu posted “WWG1WGA”. The acronym stands for “Where We Go One We Go All”, the slogan of the QAnon conspiracy theory. On October 6, Facebook announcement that he would ban groups that openly support QAnon. The Associated Press reported: “Facebook has said it will ban groups that openly support QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that describes President Donald Trump as a secret warrior against an alleged child trafficking ring run by celebrities and government officials from the “deep state”.

The posts on QAnon may have been one of the reasons Facebook took action against the group. Zulu also tweeted about QAnon:

In our research for this story, we found a connection to previous reports. We noticed that on July 2, Twitter user Kyle Mizokami tweeted what follows:

Mizokami followed, saying she was shown Candace Owens and the official Kayleigh McEnany fan page as suggested groups to join:

Snopes previously filed an exclusive report on the deletion of the same Candace Owens Facebook group.

Candace Owens’ Facebook group had multiple admins, a few of which were fake accounts. The group grew to over 523,000 members in just over six months. A separate Facebook group named Candace Mods, where the group’s admins and moderators organized the efforts, is still active today. Conservative American commentator Candace Owens does not appear to be involved in the group.

Another Kayleigh McEnany-themed Facebook group, Kayleigh McEnany Fan Club, currently has over 404,000 members and was established on June 10, 2020. For comparison, the official Trump Women for Trump campaign pages, Latinos for Trump, Black Voices for Trump, Veterans for Trump, Evangelicals for Trump, and Catholics for Trump have a cumulative number of similar pages at 453,000 likes, and they were all created before 2020.

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