Roger Stone, the former adviser to President Donald Trump who is now facing a 40-month prison sentence for lying to the FBI, is now reportedly in hot water on social media, too.
Politico reported on Wednesday that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, removed Stone’s profile from the platform for allegedly spreading “inauthentic” information.
A self-described “dirty trickster,” Stone has long faced accusations of spreading conspiracy theories and other untruths as a political operative.
“Disabled by our automated systems”
He has become a sympathetic figure among many of the president’s supporters, however, since he was taken into custody by federal agents and subsequently convicted on a range of charges including witness intimidation and lying to investigators.
Through a network of social media profiles, Stone has continued to be a public voice with frequent posts about the evidence being considered in his case. It was reportedly such posts, Instagram found, that warranted the removal of his account.
“The people behind this activity used fake accounts — some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems — to pose as residents of Florida, post and comment on their own content to make it appear more popular than it is, evade enforcement, and manage Pages,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said, according to Politico.
He added that a number of pages were linked to a banned group known as Proud Boys and others “appeared to have acquired followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make themselves seem more popular than they were.”
“Categorically and provably false”
As he has throughout the ongoing ordeal, Stone spoke out in his own defense.
“The claim that I have utilized or controlled unauthorized or fake accounts on any platform is categorically and provably false,” he declared, according to Politico. “I have never owned or controlled any fake Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.”
He went on to deny any “formal or informal connection to the Proud Boys” and decried the “banning of individuals who may choose to repost things that [he has] posted is an even more extraordinary act of inappropriate censorship.”
Speculation has swirled in recent weeks regarding a possible presidential pardon, especially after Stone described his impending prison term as the equivalent of the “death penalty.”
While it remains to be seen how this chapter in Stone’s controversial life plays out, he will no longer have Instagram as a platform to reach his supporters — and critics — across the country and around the world.