Facebook, as part of its preparations ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration, is removing all content containing the phrase “stop the steal,” and is treating the two weeks leading up to the ceremony as a “major civic event.”
Facebook's Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen and Vice President of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert said the company began preparing for Inauguration Day last year, but said the planning “took on new urgency after last week’s violence in Washington D.C.”
“We’re taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies we used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks,” they said in a statement.
“We are now removing content containing the phrase “stop the steal” under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” they continued.
Facebook removed the original “Stop the Steal” group in November, and has continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate its policies, including calls for violence.
Company executives did say, though, that they have been “allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue.”
“But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC, we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration,” they said. “It may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts.”
“Stop the Steal” refers to President Trump’s baseless charges of widespread voter fraud and claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him.
Facebook, on Monday, said they have continued to “proactively reach out to federal and local law enforcement” and are providing information “in response to valid legal requests.”
“As always, we will continue to remove content, disable accounts and work with law enforcement when there is a risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety,” they said.