The largest Black Lives Matter page on Facebook is reportedly a fraud — run by a white man in Australia who used it to take in more than $100,000 in donations.
The page was simply called “Black Lives Matter” and had nearly 700,000 followers, compared with the 322,000 for the verified page of the same name, CNN reported Monday.
The bogus page has been suspended and online payment platforms PayPal, Patreon, Donorbox and Classy have stopped working with it.
Some of the money raised through the fake page reportedly went into a bank in Australia.
The page was tied to Ian Mackay, an official with the National Union of Workers in Australia. He has served as an organizer and branch vice president, CNN reported.
He’s been suspended pending a union investigation.
“The NUW is not involved in, and has not authorized, any activities with reference to claims made in CNN’s story,” said union national secretary Tim Kennedy.
CNN reported that Mackay has registered dozens of Web sites, many of which claim to be tied to black-rights issues.
In April 2015, he registered blackpowerfist.com using his name, e-mail address and phone number.
Patrisse Cullors, a BLM co-founder, said she was troubled by the apparent scam.
“We rely on donors who believe in our work and our cause and that [the] money will be used in a way that is respectful,” Cullors said.
DeRay McKesson, another prominent BLM activist, said the fast rise of the movement has left it vulnerable to such schemes.
“It’s important to remember the movement was organic and no organizations started the protests that spread across the country,” McKesson said. “The consequences of that is it hasn’t been easy to think about authenticity in the digital space.”