Facebook’s Largest Black Lives Matter Page Is a Scam Tied to a White Labor Activist

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg / Getty Images

The largest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is actually a scam tied to a white man in Australia that funneled money to Australian bank accounts, according to a report published Monday.

The page "Black Lives Matter" had nearly 700,000 followers, more than twice as much as the official page for the Black Lives Matter protest movement. The page owners also ran another Facebook Group with the same name, "Black Lives Matter," which had almost 40,000 members, the largest Facebook group for the movement.

But, according to a CNN investigation, the page linked to several online fundraisers that brought in "at least $100,000 that supposedly went to Black Lives Matter causes in the U.S.," only then to funnel the money to Australian bank accounts.

The page also linked to several websites concerning black rights issues, with urls like blackpowerfist.com, tied to Ian Mackay, an official with Australia's National Union of Workers.

The union, which represents thousands of workers across several industries, has suspended Mackay, who is white. The union's national secretary, Tim Kennedy, said in a statement that the organization "is not involved in and has not authorized any activities with reference to claims made in CNN's story."

The people behind the Facebook page and the websites encouraged visitors to donate money through online fundraising platforms, including Donorbox.

Facebook has been aware of the allegations against the page for some time, according to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who told CNN that her group had asked the social network to take down the page months ago.

Facebook suspended the page after nearly a week of calls and emails between CNN and the social media site about the former's story, "and then only because it had suspended a user account that administrated the page," CNN reported. Fundraising campaigns associated with the Facebook page have also been suspended.

The revelation comes as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is conducting an "apology tour" on Capitol Hill, meeting with several lawmakers to explain his company's failure to protect user data during the 2016 election. Zuckerberg will speak to the the Senate Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees on Tuesday, and then the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.