The habit of spreading misinformation has never been higher in America, partly due to the ease of getting a message to millions with social media. There has been a massive influx in these misinformation pages during election years, and they are being used to systematically divide Americans, making them question each other and trusted institutions.
An article published by Axios has reported that more than 150 fake veteran Facebook pages are pushing propaganda and gathering donations from over 32 million users. These pages are often being run from oversea entities with the intent to spread misinformation, with the top contributors living in Russia, Macedonia and Iran.
Essentially, these pages consist of content you would expect to find on a veteran-ran page such as discussions on the military and firearms. What makes these pages different are the subtle mistruths or bigoted statements being expressed.
For example, the Facebook page “Vietnam Veterans,” which has over 230,000 followers, began stealing content from the actual VVA Facebook page to gain the trust of its followers. After the trust was gained, they began selling various apparel items such as flags and pins.
It wasn’t long until they began pushing hate messages with many of the page’s followers sharing these messages. One was a t-shirt that read: “Veterans before refugees,” while another had a man holding a sign that read: “Vets before illegals.”
Kristofer Goldsmith of the Vietnam Veterans of America has been investigating these fake veteran pages for the past two years. “They’re trying to confuse the American public, make us less trusting of important institutions, and to pit us against one another, make us suspicious of one another,” he wrote in a published report.
Mueller echoed similar warnings when he spoke to Congress earlier this year. He explained that these pages were being systematically added to American’s lives with the intent of destroying the trust of its people from within.
According to the Washington Post, veterans are often targeted when it comes to misinformation as they consistently have a high turnout when it comes to voting and are able to sway those who admire their military service.
Who needs to go to war when the country can tear itself apart from the inside?