US media reported in early October that Facebook had banned an Arizona marketing said to have been working on behalf of a prominent conservative youth organization supporting US President Trump. The Washington Post report characterized the firm, known as Rally Forge, as a domestic “troll farm”:
Oct. 8, 2020 Facebook said Thursday that it will permanently ban from its platform an Arizona-based marketing firm running what experts described as a domestic “troll farm” following an investigation of the deceptive behavior prompted by a Washington Post article last month. The firm, Rally Forge, was “working on behalf” of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, the prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, Facebook concluded. The inquiry led to the removal of 200 accounts and 55 pages on Facebook, as well as 76 Instagram accounts — many of them operated by teenagers in the Phoenix area. The fake accounts, some with either cartoonlike Bitmoji profiles or images generated by artificial intelligence, complemented the real accounts of users involved in the effort, which largely entailed leaving comments sympathetic to President Trump and other conservative causes across social media.
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Facebook reported further details in its October 2020 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report:
We removed 202 Facebook accounts, 54 Pages and 76 Instagram accounts linked to Rally Forge, a US marketing firm, working on behalf of Turning Point USA and Inclusive Conservation Group. They focused primarily on domestic US audiences and also on Kenya and Botswana. Rally Forge is now banned from Facebook. We began our investigation after public reporting about some elements of this activity by the Washington Post. We are continuing to review all linked networks, and will take action as appropriate if we determine they are engaged in deceptive behavior. (Originally announced on October 8, 2020)
On its web page, Rally Forge describes itself as follows:
Consultants do it wrong. Too much them, not enough you. Too much self promotion, not enough viral brand promotion. That’s not us. We believe that principles are more important than profit and movements are more important than marketing. Our society has too many agencies and consultants that are simply in it for their next payday. Rally Forge only takes on clients that we believe in. We only build movements that will help restore our nation to its rightful place as the shining city atop the hill. We only work with those that fight for truth. People over politics. Principles over profit.
In 2018, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on accusations that Turning Point engages in unethical behavior:
In its six years of existence, Turning Point USA has repeatedly been accused of engaging in half-truths and unethical behavior — whether secretly funneling money to student-government candidates or placing college faculty members on a poorly researched (and arguably McCarthyesque) Professor Watchlist. None of that has slowed the meteoric rise of the conservative group and its charismatic leader, Charlie Kirk. Kirk continues to be a regular guest on Fox News. He rubs elbows with the Trump family and Republican members of Congress. Donors gave his organization nearly $10 million last year. But the latest critic to blast Kirk’s group is a fellow conservative organization. Young America’s Foundation, founded more than 50 years ago at the home of William F. Buckley Jr., has written a blistering 12-page memorandum (reprinted below) “outlining the lack of integrity, honesty, experience, and judgment of this growing organization.” “The long-term damage TPUSA could inflict on conservative students and the Conservative Movement can no longer be ignored,” states the May 25 memo, written by Kimberly Begg, vice president and general counsel of Young America’s. A Young America’s representative familiar with the memo said it was meant to be an “internal” document for students who were asking if they should cooperate with Turning Point.
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In October, the GIOR recommended an Atlantic article detailing what it described as the adoption by US President Trump and his allies of the tactics of information warfare normally associated with authoritarian regimes.