Former Employees Of The Veteran Crowdfunding Trump's Wall Say He Pushed Fake News To Get Rich

May 22, 2018
3,069
2,174
240
#1
Brian Kolfage, the decorated Iraq War veteran spearheading the massive, viral fundraising campaign to build President Trump’s border wall, who has a history of peddling right-wing misinformation on Facebook, pushed the limits of misleading content in pursuit of online traffic and profits until he was ultimately banned from the platform, according to multiple former employees and a review of internal communications.

The 37-year-old has spent more than a decade carefully crafting his public persona as an altruistic, conservative public figure, but people who have worked with the veteran told BuzzFeed News he can be vengeful and malicious, and that the pursuit of profits above all else fueled his behavior.

The veteran has also spearheaded other crowdfunding ventures over the years, raising thousands of dollars on GoFundMe with the promise of helping mentor fellow vets at military hospitals, but spokespersons for the medical centers said they have no record of Kolfage working at their facilities or donating any money.

Lindsay Lowery, who goes by the alias Prissy Holly, worked for Kolfage’s main conservative news website, Freedom Daily, for about a year in 2017 as Trump’s presidency began to take shape and the world of fake news on Facebook remained largely unabated.

“After I started challenging some of his business decisions that I felt were reckless for the company and for my career, the real Brian emerged,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Everything is only about his ‘war hero’ persona and money. If there’s a perceived slight on his part, he viciously attacks people...and, in my case, tries to destroy their life and livelihood.”

BuzzFeed News reviewed a cache of internal emails and text messages from several of Kolfage’s former employees and acquaintances that show how he pushed to sensationalize and fabricate right-wing content on Facebook to amass clicks, manipulate users, and in the process, make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in advertising revenue. In one text, he claimed to run a “multi-million business.”

In addition to Lowery, three sources corroborated the documents and their experience with Kolfage, but were afraid to go on the record, citing his past behavior of lashing out and threatening legal action against those who have spoken against him.

Former employees told BuzzFeed News that Kolfage instructed his crew to produce Facebook content to more flagrantly convey a false narrative, in one instance photoshopping former president Obama’s head onto another body to make it appear as though he was having an affair, with the caption, “BREAKING!! OBAMA BUSTED!!! VIDEO LEAKED!!”

“You’ll love this one ;),” he texted employees during a conversation about manipulating images.

In one message to Lowery, Kolfage sent a screenshot of an article making it appear as though the FBI was arresting Hillary Clinton with the bold headline: “BREAKING!!! TRUMP’S DOJ JUST DID IT!!! It’s FINALLY Happening!” The example, she said, was meant to show how to persuade more people to click on the site’s stories.

In another text exchange before she quit in January 2018, Kolfage chastised Lowery for not being provocative with story content and prodded her to “get creative with images” on a false report claiming former FBI director James Comey “just Committed Treason.”

“So get creative like using fake photoshopped images?” she responded. “I was kind of taken back at this...”

“Yup it’s just a graphic. Best story of [the] day,” he said.

“It’s fake,” she replied. "I don't see how this [is] making us a legit website"

“That’s not for u to worry about,” Kolfage texted back. “And it’s only on Facebook. Not the website.”

“Adds mystery to the entire story... he was part of FBI at same time," he added. "Use that exact image of comey or the cia director in some shady looking pic."

On several occasions, Kolfage discussed purchasing Facebook pages, which he acknowledged in one message is a violation of the social network’s policy and urged employees to remain quiet about. In a group text dated Sept. 22, 2017, he informed employees that “we purchased the Facebook pages belonging to Patriot Nation,” collecting its 2 million fans to “significantly increase our traffic” and generate more revenue.

About a year later, in March 2018, Kolfage texted an acquaintance, who shared their conversations with BuzzFeed News, bragging about how rapidly he had grown the Facebook page Right Wing News, which he had recently purchased.

“One day of big daddy running the show,” Kolfage wrote, referencing an attached chart showing a significant spike in user traffic. “Those fuckers had no clue...The page reach is actually 14 million this week. When I got it [it] was 1 mil.”

The veteran purchased the page, which frequently posted outlandish conservative "clickbait" stories, for more than $100,000, according to a former employee and a colleague.

“Brian is a genius. He knows how to manipulate people and the system,” the former employee said. “The stories were doing more harm than good. Hillary’s face would be on someone else’s body with handcuffs and the story had nothing to do with that. He would brag about how we would be even bigger and explode in 2018 because of the fake news stuff.”

Neither Kolfage nor his representative responded to multiple requests for comment.
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/articl...trump-wall-brian-kolfage-immigration-facebook


Normally I don't pay attention to Buzzfeed, but if this is accurate then this is a really big deal.
 
May 12, 2005
11,687
22
1,170
#7
He took advantage of some very stupid people based off misinformation and their own pathetic fear. It's hard to feel empathetic for the people who donated.
 
Last edited:

wzy

Neo Member
Dec 29, 2018
20
31
75
#12
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/articl...trump-wall-brian-kolfage-immigration-facebook


Normally I don't pay attention to Buzzfeed, but if this is accurate then this is a really big deal.
Unbelievable. These morons on facebook were tricked into believing they were one earth-shattering revelation away from the whole planet collectively getting it and finally slinking back to the dinner table to apologize for their ignorance. I bet they couldn't get enough of that shit!

*checks URL*

Oh. Uh... but this story is totally different, obviously.
 
Last edited:
Feb 2, 2018
367
326
215
#14
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/articl...trump-wall-brian-kolfage-immigration-facebook


Normally I don't pay attention to Buzzfeed, but if this is accurate then this is a really big deal.
Buzzfeed said:
... in one instance photoshopping former president Obama’s head onto another body to make it appear as though he was having an affair, with the caption, “BREAKING!! OBAMA BUSTED!!! VIDEO LEAKED!!”

In one message to Lowery, Kolfage sent a screenshot of an article making it appear as though the FBI was arresting Hillary Clinton with the bold headline: “BREAKING!!! TRUMP’S DOJ JUST DID IT!!! It’s FINALLY Happening!” The example, she said, was meant to show how to persuade more people to click on the site’s stories.

These things are common on the internet. Everybody, and i mean absolutely everybody, who clicks on one of these links will know that these are lies within a few minutes and they will know that this was a clickbait.

This has nothing to do with politics and is a simple clickbait to get fast money.

What really is disgusting is how Buzzfeed tries to spin a story around a Trump supporter who is doing this to promote Trump, which just isn't the case. Just check the headline and URL und then read the article. It's just another example of why sites like BuzzFeed have zero credibility when we're talking about real life news. That's a scam and you fell for it.
 
Last edited:
Aug 28, 2018
125
112
170
#15
Normally I don't pay attention to Buzzfeed, but if this is accurate then this is a really big deal.
Guy who constantly nags about Trump finds an article that nags about Trump and agrees with it, how surprising.

Nobody_Important never concedes an inch for a discussion, I don't feel there can be a proper conversation as long as things are introduced this way. The "us against them" way.
 
Oct 2, 2012
3,190
108
410
#18
Please tell me I'm not the only one seeing the irony/hypocrisy of buzzfeed reporting that someone is getting money for reporting fake news, or twisting stories to make money.
I know it's hard to shake off the association, but Buzzfeed News is actually filled with investigative journalists who do a proper job. Other than the ownership relation, it has little to do with the clickbait shit of Buzzfeed proper.
 
Dec 3, 2013
16,380
9,020
555
#19
I know it's hard to shake off the association, but Buzzfeed News is actually filled with investigative journalists who do a proper job. Other than the ownership relation, it has little to do with the clickbait shit of Buzzfeed proper.
Good, they should start writing these think pieces about their sister tabloid. :pie_smirking:
 
Jun 26, 2018
623
441
200
42
Milwaukee, WI
#20
I know it's hard to shake off the association, but Buzzfeed News is actually filled with investigative journalists who do a proper job.
Andrew Kaczynski is one of the most vile and members of the media. He is the guy who challenged Ben Shapiro to bench press contest and who threatened to dox a guy for making a gif about professional wrestling. He also doxed some jurors from the Manafort case.
 
Oct 17, 2011
8,710
482
585
#21
I know it's hard to shake off the association, but Buzzfeed News is actually filled with investigative journalists who do a proper job. Other than the ownership relation, it has little to do with the clickbait shit of Buzzfeed proper.
And yet the average article that hits social media from Buzzfeed is usually a click piece filled less with the facts and more with the personal opinion of the journalist writing the piece. They can be the best researchers in the world, but if they twist the story and drop facts that disprove their piece, then they still deserve whats thrown at them.
 
Jan 12, 2009
15,770
1,353
835
#23
Get your money back idiots who donated, please do that. Don't let this guy get a penny from you.

Details: The GoFundMe, which had a $1 billion target, was started by veteran Brian Kolfage. Kolfage wrote on the campaign's page that after consultation with experts, he decided to take the $20 million raised and form a non-profit called "We Build the Wall, Inc." in order to complete segments of the wall for lower costs than the government has estimated. A GoFundMe spokesman responded by saying that unless the donors make it clear they want their funds to be directed to the non-profit, "they will automatically receive a full refund."

The plan of action was simple and straightforward to raise money to construct a wall on our southern border. We have raised over $20 Million from 325,000 plus donors and we are only just getting started! I have been literally overwhelmed and inspired by the outpouring of support, calls, and emails from American citizens who support our efforts to Build the Wall. I got some hate as well but that was easy to ignore with all the positive feedback I was getting. I immediately sought out and consulted with some of our country's leading professionals in law, politics, national security, construction, and finance. This team has spent countless hours over the holidays reviewing all issues pertaining to the construction of a southern border wall. Unanimously, we have all come to the conclusion that:

-The federal government won’t be able to accept our donations anytime soon.

-We are better equipped than our own government to use the donated funds to build an actual wall on the southern border.

-Our highly experienced team is highly confident that we can complete significant segments of the wall in less time, and for far less money, than the federal government, while meeting or exceeding all required regulatory, engineering, and environmental specifications.

-Our team strongly believes that we can complete our segments of the wall for less than half of the government’s estimated costs on a per mile basis.

To show the government how “We the People” can get this done, we have formed a Section 501(c)(4) non-profit Florida Corporation named “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to receive the GoFundMe contributions. Our website can be found at www.webuildthewall.us.
Don't fall for it.
 
Last edited: