Are you influenced by the sinister Kullberg Network? If you have any conservative Facebook friends, chances are you have been influenced in your thinking by this shadowy group.
The Kullberg network is not a foreign entity. It is a collection of at least 24 Facebook pages apparently run by a small group of people based out of Columbus, Ohio, that purports to represent the views of a diverse cohort of Americans. In many other respects, the network is quite similar to these examples [Russian and Philippine troll farms] of foreign social media manipulation. In the view of Joshua Tucker, a professor of politics and data science at NYU, the fact that these activities stem from domestic, rather than foreign, actors complicates things. “I think if you came to Facebook and said, ‘Hey, the Russians are doing this,’ they would have taken the pages down,” he told us in a phone interview. So far, Facebook has not responded to our questions or multiple follow-ups about the Kullberg network’s practices, and the network remains online.
That alarm was raised in a bulletin at Snopes.com dated May 15, 2019, by Alex Kasprak. Snopes is concerned about these networks of mysterious reactionary operatives who spread extremist memes on social media. They are extremely concerned that conservative ideas will spread on Facebook by this astroturf activity.
Though the actual authorship of the posts within these pages is opaque, their titles imply diverse representation from a broad swath of American demographic groups, including “Jews & Christians for America” and “Blacks for Trump.” In reality, however, the pages in this network are all connected to evangelical activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg. But she is neither black nor Jewish, and her views appear to represent an extreme subset of the broader evangelical movement in America.
Ah-Hah! Curse those Evil Evangelicals!
I have seen some of this activity, in a few cases shared by a couple of my conservative Facebook friends. It is garden-variety information, spreading true statements about Muslims in hyped-up language. That is what Snopes labeled “Islamophobia.”
Snopes did a follow-up the next day. Then on May 26 they posted an update:
Though Facebook has still not responded to any of our requests for comment, as of 26 May 2019, all 24 pages identified in Snopes’ reporting appear to have been removed from the platform.
In their update, Snopes shares how they had contacted Facebook multiple times, making the case that those “Kullberg Network” pages meet Facebook’s definition of “objectionable content.” They included part of their correspondence to Facebook:
These pages claim that Islam is “not a religion,” that Muslims are violent and duplicitous, and that Islamic refugee resettlement is “cultural destruction and subjugation.” Just hours after the April 2019 Notre Dame spire collapse in a catastrophic fire, this network went into overdrive sowing doubt about the possible role Muslims had in its collapse. Multiple pages within this network have stated that their purpose is “message boosting & targeting.” […]
These pages, however, are steeped in fantastical notions of “globalist” conspiracies linking Islam, Socialism, and multi-billionaire philanthropist and Democratic Party supporter George Soros to the decline of Western civilization. Some of these pages also claim that survivors of the Parkland High School massacre in the U.S., for instance, are on a Soros-funded “Leftist-Islamist payroll.”
They also described Ms. Kullberg’s partner in crime:
Snopes also found that at least one prominent GOP donor, William Millis, funded and/or exploited the efforts of the Kullberg network. Millis was a fundraiser and campaign board member for current HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Did you see that map that was circulated after Notre Dame Cathedral burned? I saw it on my Facebook feed three times. The time that it landed there because it had been shared out by one of my friends, I responded with a correction:
This map says that those places are all “churches that were destroyed,” but it is actually a map of churches, synagogues and cemeteries that were vandalized. Only a handful were actually destroyed. This does illustrate a staggering level of destruction that has gone unreported by mass media.
Likewise, I had seen the thing about Parkland High students being funded by George Soros. I followed up on that one also, and learned that travel expenses for several appearances had been paid by anti-gun organizations that are primarily funded via Soros’s front organizations.
The predicable capper is that they don’t dispute anything based on facts, but include a quote calling these pages “Islamophobic” that they got from CAIR.
Though they had included some spin-doctoring, I think everything cited by Snopes as hateful conspiracy theorizing was actually mostly true. This is another indication of how Snopes is a thoroughly Leftist project, just like Facebook.