Remember That Time Russian Agitators Instigated Houston Protests?

In May 2017, Russian trolls created Facebook events prompting Houston protests

File – In this April 4, 2013 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is testifying before Congress following months of criticism over how the company handles user data, and how that data can be used to manipulated people on the platform.

Last May, a handful of people showed up to protest the Houston Islamic Da’wah CenterThen, a couple dozen more people came out to counter-protest. However…. 

What neither side could have known is that Russia trolls were encouraging both sides to battle in the streets and create division between real Americans,”said North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, speaking to the Senate Intelligence Committee.  

Both groups at the protest were organized through Facebook, on pages run by Russian agitators. 

Daniel Cohen leads an activist group in Houston. He said fake protest events are concerning, “particularly because they set back our efforts in so many different important fights that take place every day in Houston and Harris County.”

Cohen said he hopes the increased pressure on Facebook encourages people to meet face-to-face for civic participation. 


Davis Land

Senior Producer

Davis Land is a senior producer at Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a graduate...

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