Russia pushes Texas secession and ‘white power’ rallies on social media — and it’s still happening
A Russia-backed Facebook group that promoted a “fascist and proud” anti-Islam rally in Texas is now promoting secession on another social media platform.
The May 2016 protest drew nearly 100 demonstrators to a Houston mosque, where armed white supremacists shouted “white power” as they waved Confederate flags, reported Think Progress.
The protest wasn’t much different from others that played out across the country during the presidential campaign, aside from its organizers — revealed last month to be a Russian outfit that maintained the “Heart of Texas” page on Facebook.
The social media group encouraged participants to openly carry firearms and invited white supremacists to take part, and one group member urged demonstrators to “blow up” the Islamic Da’wah Center.
The demonstration ended without violence, but it shows how Russian operatives encouraged racist conflict using social media during the heated election campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Those efforts aren’t over, even though Facebook has removed known Russian disinformation accounts.
After the “Heart of Texas” page was revealed as a Russian front and taken down, an Instagram account posting identical material went live on Instagram.
That account disappeared Monday, after Think Progress reported its existence.
The website pulled several screen grabs from the Instagram account “Raised in Texas,” showing it promoted a mix of folksy but apocryphal boasts about Texas culture — and promoting secession from the United States.
Russia appears to be promoting the breakup of the United States by encouraging larger states like Texas and California to secede.
The American leader of one California secession movement has directed his efforts from Russia, where he permanently settled in April.
Russia has also promoted “blacktivist” and anti-immigrant Facebook groups, and helped promote dubious stories on social media using phony or “bot” accounts.