Facebook takes down pages spreading 'Stop the Steal' election misinformation

The pages had gained millions of followers before Facebook removed them.

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Karissa Bell
November 10, 2020 1:50 AM
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2020/11/07: A woman holds a placard saying Stop the Steal as protesters gather near the Indiana State house for a #StoptheSteal rally and to protest Joe Bidens election victory over Donald J. Trump. The election was called in favor of Biden shortly before the rally began. 
The protesters are demanding vote recounts. Similar rallies were held across the United States. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Facebook is still trying to get a handle on people and groups spreading election misinformation via “Stop the Steal” messaging. The company took down a handful of prominent Facebook pages and at least one group promoting “Stop the Steal,” for inauthentic behavior, according to The Washington Post.

The social network’s actions impacted seven pages, which had more than 2 million followers, and were reportedly linked to Donald Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon. The pages used “inauthentic behavior tactics,” to amplify their posts, Facebook told The Washington Post. The company also took down a group that had been named “Stop the Steal,” but was later renamed to “Gay Communists for Socialism.” 

The takedowns come days after the social network removed another Facebook group called “Stop the Steal,” which gained hundreds of thousands of followers in its first 24 hours. Facebook pulled the group, where members spread conspiracy theories about the results of the election and advocated an armed response, due to “worrying calls for violence.”

Since then, several similar groups have sprung up, some of which have gained thousands of members, according to Avaaz, the group that flagged the Bannon-linked pages to Facebook.  While it’s not clear if Facebook plans to take action against these groups, it has deployed a number of other changes in recent days in an effort to better control misinformation. The company has reduced the distribution of some live videos and election-related posts and has imposed restrictions on groups that have repeatedly broken its rules.

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