Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe spent over $100,000 on fake news advertising during his campaign, Fox News reported Wednesday.
McAuliffe’s campaign purportedly used a Facebook page with a name similar to a local news outlet to link to third-party websites which promote Democratic candidates but give the appearance of being legitimate news websites, according to Fox.
The Download, McAuliffe’s incognito Facebook page, used paid advertisements to share articles supportive of the former governor, Fox reported. Despite having only 67 followers, the Facebook page’s posts have been viewed 3.5 million times thanks to paid advertisements.
Most of the posts shared by The Download linked to legitimate news sites, according to Fox, but several linked to sites such as the Virginia Dogwood. Dogwood claims to deliver “credible, fact-based reporting,” but is funded in part by ACRONYM, a left-leaning dark money organization affiliated with George Soros and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn.
McAuliffe’s page also shared a story from the Independent, which poses as an unbiased news source but is funded by The American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, which spent $59.7 million opposing Republicans in the 2020 election cycle, according to Fox.
Hoffman has funded several disinformation projects, including an Alabama project which allegedly used Facebook and Twitter to undermine support for Republicans tactics similar to those used by Russian operatives in the 2016 election, according to The Washington Post. He has since publicly apologized and called the project “highly disturbing.”
Hoffman and Soros launched a new media venture Tuesday called Good Information Inc., which will “fund and scale businesses that cut through eco chambers with fact-based information,” according to Axios.
The Axios article discussed Hoffman and Soros’ involvement with ACRONYM and the company’s history of political involvement. ACRONYM faced a FEC complaint in 2020 alleging it was not transparent about backing Courier Newsroom, according to Axios. Courier is a Democrat-affiliated news network which created some of the “fake news” stories shared by the McAuliffe Facebook page.
Axios did not mention Hoffman’s involvement in the Alabama disinformation scandal in its article.
McAuliffe and Hoffman did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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