Facebook removes pages reported to have coordinated posts defending Robert Hyde

Connecticut Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde denies any involvement in alleged efforts to surveil former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Posted: Jan 19, 2020 6:50 AM
Updated: Jan 19, 2020 6:50 AM

Facebook removed a network of pages Friday night that were reported to be sending coordinated posts defending Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde, who this week was implicated in the Ukraine scandal.

The pages first came under public scrutiny in November, months before Hyde came to national attention. A BuzzFeed News investigation found the pages heavily promoting Hyde's congressional campaign. Hyde denied running the pages to BuzzFeed.

A Facebook company spokesperson said Friday that "when we find networks of Pages misleading people by concealing who controls them, we require those owners to show additional information. In this case, the necessary disclosure was not made, so per our policy, the Pages have been removed."

CNN has reached out to Hyde for comment.

In November as the impeachment hearing got underway in Washington, the pages, with names like "Ohio Supporters for President Donald J Trump" and "Iowa Supporters for President Donald J Trump," began sharing an image of Rep. Adam Schiff with the words "Lock Up Adam Schiff for Treason" and "Make American Great Again," BuzzFeed News reported.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook had removed those same pages, which over the past week, been sharing posts defending Hyde.

Although Hyde denied to BuzzFeed News in November that he was running the pages, the WSJ reported "several of them had the same contact information and other details as Mr. Hyde's Republican campaign for a House seat in Connecticut."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the removed pages "described themselves as representing groups of supporters of President Trump from different states and several of them had the same contact information and other details as Mr. Hyde's Republican campaign for a House seat in Connecticut."

Hyde has also been surrounded by controversy in recent days after text message conversations he is alleged to have been involved appeared to show evidence of surveillance of former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. The text messages were included in documents released to the House of Representatives from indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

CNN attempted to reach Hyde at his home for comment regarding these text messages on Wednesday, but there was no answer. CNN's attempts to reach a DC-based lobbying firm run by Hyde were unsuccessful. In an interview with the Hartford Courant on Friday, Hyde denied any involvement in surveillance of Yovanovitch.

Facebook, who has come under intense criticism lately for the role some accuse the company of playing in the dissemination of misinformation, recently announced new policies aimed at increasing transparency.

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