A 'Black Lives Matter' Facebook Page Had Iffy Origins
Site suspends page after CNN reports on links to a white man in Australia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2018 7:43 AM CDT
A protester writes "Black Lives Matter" on the ground in downtown St. Louis in this 2017 file photo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Newser) – This is the official Facebook page for the Black Lives Matter movement, one with more than 300,000 followers. Anyone searching for it over the past year would have been forgiven if they'd instead stumbled onto a different BLM Facebook page with more than double the number of followers. That one, however, appears to have been a fake, and Facebook has suspended it after inquiries from CNN. The site in question had links to a middle-aged white man in Australia, and at least some of the $100,000 it raised in the name of BLM instead went to Australian bank accounts. The site raised money through sites such as PayPal, Patreon, Donorbox, and Classy, all of which have cut ties. One aspect of the story getting attention: Facebook had been receiving complaints about the site for months, including from authentic BLM organizers, but didn't act.

The man apparently behind the site is Ian Mackay, an official with a prominent workers' union in Australia. The National Union of Workers has suspended him and another union official in the wake of the allegations, and the controversy has caught the attention of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. "I haven't seen the details of that report, but any sort of dishonesty or fraud of the kind that's alleged is wrong—it would be illegal," he tells Australia's ABC. Mackay denied running the site to CNN, saying he buys and sells domain names as a "personal hobby." He has registered several other websites with ties to black rights, including blackpowerfist.com. (One of the biggest names in tech says he's defecting from Facebook.)

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