The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) was birthed out of the rampant systematic racism and violence towards Black people nationally and internationally. In 2013 after George Zimmerman was found innocent for killing an armless Trayvon Martin, BLM began its quest to bring awareness to police brutality.
The Black Lives Matters movement has spurred a call to stop violence and garnered much support.
This has obviously enabled a huge spotlight on BLM activists and naysayers.
Unofficial BLM Facebook page…CNN
According to CNNTech, a Facebook page titled “Black Lives Matter” which boasted 665,193 followers and held ties to online fundraisers which raised $100,000 has been found to be tied to an Australian man. The page was formulated in 2016.
Some of the donations were found to be transferred to Australian bank accounts.
Links associated with the fake page were traced back to Ian MacKay, an official with the National Union of Workers in Australia. A spokesperson with the NUW stated on Tuesday that MacKay was suspended from his post pending an investigation.
The Facebook page was also reportedly linked to a group page with the same “Black Lives Matter” name attached to it. The group had 40,000 followers.
Facebook groups are similar to forums in that one needs to make a request to join.
Facebook was notified that the page was an unofficial one – by BLM founder Patrisse Cullors. Cullors relayed that she made a request to the social media platform to shut down the page.
The union “is not involved in and has not authorized any activities with reference to claims made in CNN‘s story,” National Secretary Tim Kennedy said in a statement.
MacKay has registered several websites with black rights themes. This was confirmed when his name, e-mail address and phone number were annotated on registration records until April 2015 – when a feature for site owners to conceal their information became available.
Some of the sites MacKay was found to administer according to archived internet records are blackpowerfist.com and blacklivesmatter.media.
MacKay also used the pseudonyms “BP Parker” and “Steve Parks.”
The aforementioned sites requested for funds to be allocated to fundraising platforms such as Donorbox, Classy, Patreon and PayPal. “Our mission is to raise awareness about racism, bigotry, police brutality and hate crimes by exposing through social media locally and internationally stories that mainstream media don’t,” a message posted on the Donorbox page stated.
There were several attempts to shed light on McKay’s activities.
In December, a freelance investigator, Jeremy Massler, who was the first person to publicly note Mackay’s apparent links to the page, wrote a blog post about Mackay. The page briefly disappeared before being activated again at a later time.
After phone calls and e-mails between Facebook and CNN, the fake BLM pages were shut down – after suspending a user account that administrated the page.
The accounts on Donorbox, PayPal, Classy and Patreon have all been shut down.
Cullors said she found CNN‘s findings disturbing. She said fake fundraisers diminish the real work the movement does. “We rely on donors who believe in our work and our cause and that money will be used in a way that is respectful,” Cullors said.
“It’s important to remember the movement was organic and no organizations started the protests that spread across the country,” DeRay Mckesson, a prominent black activist, told CNN. “The consequences of that is it hasn’t been easy to think about authenticity in the digital space.