On Monday, Facebook announced that they will be banning the phrase “stop the steal” from their platform in advance of Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
“We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” said Facebook 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. We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram.”
“Stop the steal” is a widely used slogan by Trump supporters who believe that voter fraud in various battleground states tipped the election to Joe Biden. Trump’s legal team and their allies have uncovered many instances of voter fraud, backed up by sworn affidavits, video evidence, and statistical analysis. While various challenges were not taken up by the Supreme Court, there are a few outstanding legal battles.
Despite their new policy, Facebook claims they will continue to allow “robust conversations related to the election outcome.”
“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 statement continued. “It may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts.”
Our teams are working 24/7 to enforce our policies around the inauguration. We will keep our Integrity Operations Center operating at least through January 22 to monitor and respond to threats in real time. We already had it active ahead of Georgia’s runoff elections and Congress’s counting of the Electoral College votes in the US presidential election. We extended it due to the violence at the Capitol last week.
As was the case through the 2020 elections, we’ve continued to proactively reach out to federal and local law enforcement and we 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.
Facebook seems to be suggesting that “stop the steal” is a phrase inciting violence. They simultaneously declare they are banning use of the phrase “stop the steal” while also claiming to allow “robust conversations related to the election outcome.” That seems like a gross contradiction. When polls show that roughly half the country believes the election was stolen, censoring phrases like “stop the steal” sends the opposite message Facebook is trying to make.
Since Trump’s banning from Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been seeing a quote from A Clash of Kings: “When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” Sounds about right.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Gab, MeWe, Rumble, and CloutHub.