Facebook bans all mentions of ‘stop the steal’ ahead of inauguration

The company has already taken down a 'significant number' of posts.

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Karissa Bell
January 11th, 2021
A "Stop the Steal" flag flies outside a campaign rally with U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler on the eve of Georgia’s run-off election in Dalton, Georgia, U.S., January 4, 2021.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Brian Snyder / reuters

Facebook says it’s barring all mentions of the phrase “stop the steal” in the wake of last week’s riot in Washington D.C. that resulted in five deaths. The social network said Monday that it will start taking down Facebook and Instagram posts that use the slogan as the company prepares for the Jan. 20, inauguration.

“We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” Facebook wrote in a statement. “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. 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.”

The company said it’s taken down a “significant number” of posts but that it “may take some time to scale up our enforcement” of the new policy.

Since the November election, supporters of Donald Trump have used the “stop the steal” moniker to spread conspiracy theories about the election and call for an armed response. “Stop the steal” groups first cropped up on Facebook in the days after the election, and later spread to platforms like Parler after the company began taking them down

Additionally, Facebook said that it will surface reliable news about the inauguration to users in its news tab and that “after the inauguration, our label on posts that attempt to delegitimize the election results will reflect that Joe Biden is the sitting president.” The company will also continue its pause on political ads, as well as the restrictions on posts in Facebook groups that have a history of encouraging hate speech. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg said the social network would suspend Trump from its platform “at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

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