Facebook to remove content containing ‘stop the steal’ phrase

PTI, Jan 12, 2021, 8:42 AM IST

Washington: Facebook has announced that it would remove all the contents from its platform that contain the phrase “stop the seal”, which is being used by the supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump to allege election fraud.

Trump and his supporters believe that there was massive voters fraud during the November 3 elections. While the allegations are unsubstantiated, his supporters have been using this phrase to organise themselves and often hold protests through social media outlets.

“We are now removing content containing the phrase ”stop the steal” under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram. We removed the original ”Stop the Steal” group in November and have continued to remove pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence,” Guy Rosen, vice president, integrity, and Monika Bickert, VP, global policy management, said in a blog post on Monday.

“We”ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue,” they said.

But with continued attempts to organise 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 at the Capitol, the additional step is being taken in the lead up to the inauguration, the Facebook 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,” the officials said.

Noting that they began preparing for inauguration day last year, the two said their planning took on new urgency after last week”s violence and they are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event.

“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,” Facebook said.

It added that in addition to the indefinite suspension of Trump”s account, the company is keeping its pause in place on all ads in the US about politics or elections.

“This means that we aren”t allowing any ads from politicians, including President Trump,” it said.

“We are also connecting people with reliable information and high-quality news about the inauguration and the transition process. After the inauguration, our label on posts that attempt to delegitimise the election results will reflect that Joe Biden is the sitting president.

“Our Voting Information Center will stay active on Facebook and Instagram through the inauguration so it can continue to help people find reliable information and updates about the electoral process,” Facebook said.

During inauguration week, Facebook said it would add a news digest to Facebook News as a curated place for people to find reliable news about the inauguration.

“This will include live video of the inauguration at the US Capitol on January 20. Facebook News often includes news digests dedicated to events of national or global significance, such as “COVID-19” or “Unrest in America” with stories selected by the curation team,” it said.

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