- Courtesy Of Tom Remp
- The Women's March Vermont in 2017
In January, Women's March Vermont will hold its third annual rally in Montpelier. But on Facebook, two different pages were promoting the event on two different dates.
One is very much real, and the other, since removed by Facebook, was a fake. Similar imposters have been popping up on social media across the country.
The real march is scheduled for January 19, 2019. The fake, hosted by "Women's March Montpelier VT 2019," was scheduled for the next day.
Women's March Vermont cochair Kristen Vrancken stumbled upon the faux event while searching for her page. The pretender's "graphics and everything looked a little bit ... off," she said.
"The language in it was off, as well," Vrancken continued. "It wasn't our messaging — but it kind of was. It looked like something that was patched together."
The fake page had been created in March — months before the national group actually settled on a date for the 2019 event.
As of Monday afternoon, it had 243 people marked as "going" to the event. Another 2,300 were "interested." The page was convincing enough to prompt the Statehouse's Capitol Police Department to ask Vrancken if Women's March Vermont had changed the date, she said.
So, who was behind the ruse? And what was the intent?
Vrancken has two theories: that the creator wants to make money off of merchandise by scamming people, or that "it's just to cause confusion ... and sow discontent in the United States."
Women's March Vermont had messaged the fake page's administrators and gotten no response. The group had also pleaded with Facebook to take down the imposter's page and asked supporters to mark the event as "spam or scam."
Nothing had worked. But Facebook removed the page Monday evening, shortly after Seven Days asked the social media giant about it. A company spokesperson said the fake event violated Facebook's impersonation policy.
Vrancken had hoped for such a result so that would-be marchers wouldn't show up on the wrong day.
"The purpose of these large events is to hold people in power accountable," said Vrancken. "And you want as many people there as possible. So if it's fractured because of a scam event ... that's horrible."