By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, syoes@afro.com

Even as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a Senate committee on data privacy, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, multiple media sources are reporting that the biggest Facebook page for Black Lives Matter was fake and had been monetized by a White man.

CNN reports a page titled, “Black Lives Matter,” which had almost 700,000 Facebook followers had raised about $100,000 that was supposed to go to causes supported by the pro-Black global network. However, some of the money was transferred to Australian bank accounts and the fake page was linked to Ian Mackay, a middle-aged White man, who is an official with the National Union of Workers in Australia. Allegedly, he has registered dozens of websites in his name, which claim to be tied to Black causes, including an entity called blackpowerfist.com, registered in April 2015.

According to CNN, Mackay has been suspended by the National Union of Workers pending an investigation. The group says it is not connected in any way with Mackay’s fraudulent website activity.

Fundraising campaigns connected to the fake BLM page have subsequently been suspended. The official Black Lives Matters website posted the following message about the scams:

“We regret that so many people were deceived by the recent high profile scam into believing that their gifts and donations benefited us. For months after noting the fraudulent profiles, the Black Lives Matter Global Network and many of our allies reached out to both Twitter and Facebook to request the fake profiles be deactivated and taken down. Unfortunately, our requests received no adequate response and many supporters continued to be misled. We are relieved that the fraudulent profiles have ultimately been removed and hope that the social media platforms will soon adopt protocols to stop this from happening again.”

Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor