I Love America, a Facebook page with 1.1 million followers and a larger reach than many respected media outlets, is run by 10 Ukrainians, with another manager from France, one from Kazakhstan, and one from the United States.
The news comes as President Donald Trump faces criticism for pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of former Vice President and one of Trump's 2020 presidential election opponents, Joe Biden.
Though the I Love America page widely shares general patriotic sentiments, Popular Information newsletter writer Judd Legum, who originally shared the story, noted a massive uptick in pro-Trump memes and sentiments. Many of the posts were the same or similar to ones shared by Russian hacking entities that meddled in the 2016 election.
Legum elaborated on the findings in a Twitter thread.
1. A massive Facebook Page called "I Love America" — which has 1.1 million followers — is actually run by Ukrainian… https://t.co/eA8zmaOEOU— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240121.0
2. The Ukrainian "I Love America" page is repurposing memes used by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian group… https://t.co/iFLKdpfv5s— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240210.0
3. "I Love America" is part of a complex network of Ukrainian-run Facebook pages that seek to amass large audiences… https://t.co/uQtwmp2c9P— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240330.0
4. The reach of this Ukrainian network of Facebook pages is absolutely extraordinary. Over the last 90 days, just… https://t.co/Y0jRaWcUa7— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240546.0
5. Facebook tells me this network of Ukrainians pretending to be American, pushing pro-Trump propaganda DOESN'T VIO… https://t.co/kx2XRIqSBs— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240792.0
6. Ukrainian pages like "I Love America" and "Cute or Not?" and "I Love Jesus Forever" are now cross-posting conten… https://t.co/m8mKSBIZwO— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569240998.0
7. The content on these more explicitly pro-Trump pages is incendiary and frequently false. For example one of th… https://t.co/Nn8xYe1cHL— Judd Legum (@Judd Legum)1569241204.0
According to Legum, the page is part of a vast network of Ukrainian Facebook pages frequently sharing pro-Trump, often false or misleading posts.
Many Twitter users heard echoes of 2016.
@JuddLegum This is a terrifying thread. It’s what’s apparently already happening. Again. @SpeakerPelosi, I unders… https://t.co/F7xfbu0NdN— Beth Corvino (@Beth Corvino)1569241951.0
@JuddLegum we can laugh all we want, but the reality is that this propaganda is reaching people and they eat it up… https://t.co/V57OUdBwBI— suzy q 🏳️🌈 #khive (@suzy q 🏳️🌈 #khive)1569242060.0
@JuddLegum More horrified every day and yet nothing seems to change, except to get worse— Bajada (@Bajada)1569241316.0
Unlike with Russia in 2016, there is no indication that any of the pages are acting on behalf of the Ukrainian government. But this time, it's Donald Trump who appears to be the one seeking out assistance from a foreign leader.
Listen to the first season of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!' where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
Be sure to subscribe here and never miss an episode.