Facebook bans ALL mention of Stop the Steal to 'prevent violence'

Facebook bans ALL mention of Stop the Steal to ‘prevent further violence’ after freezing Trump’s account in big tech’s latest move against MAGA mob – as Parler vanishes from the internet

  • Facebook said it would remove all references to Stop the Steal – the campaign that claims Biden won through mail-in voter fraud
  • It says that it is one of the driving forces behind Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol
  • Some but not all of those at Trump’s Save America Rally stormed the Capitol 
  • Trump has been banned by Facebook and Twitter for not condemning them 
  • Parler – where many of the rioters openly discussed their plans- has now been removed from the internet 
  • Amazon, Google and Apple all cut ties with it after the incident last week 
  • Sheryl Sandberg on Monday night defended their decision to ban Trump 
  • Facebook and Twitter have been criticized in the past for banning or censoring Trump content  
  • Facebook is also reportedly telling staff not to wear branded clothes in public for fear of attack 
  • There are fears that rioters are planning another uprising on Inauguration Day  

Facebook will start removing all Stop the Steal content after freezing Trump’s account in retaliation for the MAGA mob riot last week in the latest move by big tech against right-wing internet users. 

Stop the Steal was a campaign set up by Trump supporters who believe Biden stole the election from the President through mail-in voter fraud.

It is among the claims that emboldened the 10,000 strong mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday within two hours of Trump telling them to march towards it.

Not everyone who was at the rally stormed the Capitol but thousands did. Law enforcement agencies are now scrambling to catch up with them to arrest them. 

While cops hunt the rioters, big tech has canceled Trump and right-wing sites that hosted some of the discussion and planning of the riot.

Parler, where some of the rioters openly discussed their plans, has been removed from the internet after being ex-communicated by Apple, Amazon and Google. 

Now, Facebook is going further by banning any mention Stop the Steal.

Among the many signs at Wednesday’s riot were multiple that mentioned ‘the steal’ – which refers to the belief Biden stole the election from Trump through mail-in voter fraud. All mention of it has now been banned by Facebook

‘We’ve 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,’ Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of integrity, said in a post.

Stop the Steal does not have an official account on Twitter but there are many accounts whose usernames reference it. 

Twitter has not yet indicated whether it will ban all mention of it like Facebook has. 

On Monday night, Facebook’s Chief of Operations Sheryl Sandberg defended their decision to block Trump.  

‘In this moment, the risk to our democracy was too big that we felt we had to take the unprecedented step of what is an indefinite ban, and I’m glad we did,’ she said.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, on Thursday explained: ‘We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.

‘Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.’

Sandberg said Trump’s account may never be reinstated.

Zuckerberg, pictured with Trump in Sept 2019, said allowing Trump on Facebook was too risky

Rioters coordinated their attack on the Capitol on Wednesday on social media 

‘Are bans indefinite? We’ve said at least through the transition, but we have no plans to lift it,’ she said, speaking during the Reuters Next conference.

‘Even a president is not above the policies we have.’

If Trump wanted to appeal the removal of his content, that could happen through the company’s new Oversight Board, she added. Facebook said Trump could not appeal the actual suspension through the board.

Facebook executives have long taken a light touch to policing speech posted by politicians, maintaining that people have a right to see statements from their leaders.

The company backed down somewhat on that position and started applying labels to the president’s posts after facing a backlash this summer, including an advertiser boycott, when it declined to act against Trump’s incendiary rhetoric around anti-racism protests throughout the United States.

It reversed course and banned Trump indefinitely following last week’s riots, which culminated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Violent rhetoric on social media platforms including Facebook had ramped up in the weeks preceding the rallies as groups planned openly for the gatherings, according to researchers and public postings, prompting criticism of the companies for failing to take more aggressive action in advance.

Parler, where many of the rioters openly discussed their plans, has vanished from the internet after big tech pulled advertising 

Sandberg acknowledged that Facebook may have missed some of those posts but said she believed the events were largely organized on other platforms.

She said the company was keeping an eye on further possible armed protests being planned for Washington, D.C. and at all 50 U.S. state capital cities in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, which has prompted an FBI warning.

Asked why Facebook had not taken comparable action against other leaders like Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, who likewise have been accused of inciting violence online, Sandberg said the company’s policies would apply globally.

Trump is now blocked from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

Twitter saw its shares drop by six per cent on Monday, wiping $2 billion off the company value on the first day of trading after banning Trump from the platform.  

The tech giant permanently suspended the president citing a ‘risk of further incitement of violence’ in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. It also purged his supporters.  

The fallout of Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump continued over the weekend, as his eldest son lashed out at the social media site and loyalists fled to alternatives such as Gab and Parler. 

Trump’s account had 88.7million followers, which is nearly half of the company’s total base of monetizable daily active users. 

‘The world is laughing at America & Mao, Lenin, & Stalin are smiling. Big tech is able to censor the President? Free speech is dead & controlled by leftist overlords,’ Don Trump Jr said in a tweet on Saturday, urging followers to join his mailing list, ‘In case I’m next.’ 

On Monday he retweeted a post which read: ‘The internet was a hell of a lot safer before @Twitter, @Apple, @Google, and @Facebook started protecting us from it’, writing: ‘This times 1000.’ 

On Friday, Twitter also permanently banned two Trump loyalists — former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell — as part of a broader purge of accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trump friendly platform Gab.com tweeted Monday: ‘Twitter lost $4 Billion today. LOL’ 

Police told The San Francisco Chronicle they are aware of a possible protest outside the company’s HQ and have been in contact with the social media giant.

There has been no official demonstration planned outside Twitter’s head office but talk online had suggested Trump fans may decided to gather their to protest the decision. 

One post on Saturday suggested those in attendance should bring ‘big’ zip ties to ‘citizen arrest violent agitators.’ Another is said to have told demonstrators to cover their faces with masks and hats. 

Twitter employees have not been in the office since March last year at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Its CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly made the extraordinary call to permanently suspend Trump’s account Friday while he was vacationing in French Polynesia. 

San Francisco officer Adam Lobsinger said in a statement: ‘SFPD has been in contact with representatives from Twitter. We will have sufficient resources available to respond to any demonstrations as well as calls for service citywide.’ 

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