Facebook Removes Group Trying to Cast Doubt on Vote
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook said it has taken down a group that has surged in popularity since Election Day called “Stop the Steal.”
The group, which had attracted more than 360,000 followers in recent days, was attempting to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election. The #StopTheSteal hashtag has also become popular on Twitter.
Facebook Inc. said it removed the group because some members were calling for violence.
“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”
A spokesperson for the group lashed out at Facebook for shutting them down. “It is absolutely beyond the pale that Facebook would selectively choose to shut down our group. Is this the same standard they are applying to left wing groups?”
“The answer is obvious -- they are selectively enforcing their new rules to silence conservatives,” the spokesperson said. The group was formed “to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are concerned about the vote counting process.”
The group was created on Nov. 4 with an announcement from the conservative organization Women for America First, which is run by activist Kylie Kremer, daughter of Tea Party activist Amy Kremer, who is co-founder of Women Vote Trump. “MOBILIZING NOW- INVITE EVERYONE YOU CAN!” the announcement said. “Details forthcoming...Turn on notifications!” Women for America First was opposed the impeachment of President Donald Trump and advocated for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Women for America First didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“We’re going to be holding everybody accountable and making sure the Secretary of State and everybody follows election law and that this election is not stolen from President Donald Trump,” Kylie Kremer said on Nov. 4 in a live stream outside of State Farm Arena in Atlanta, where ballots are being counted.
On Kremer’s Twitter account, she indicated the money raised will be used to fly in supporters to swing states. “ALL HANDS ON DECK,” Kremer tweeted. “Need immediate support to fly in people to GA, PA, NV, AZ, WI, MI & NC to Stop The Steal NOW.”
Posts in the discussion section of ‘Stop The Steal’ promoted a number of debunked claims about the vote, with several of the posts receiving several thousand interactions.
Among the people promoting the #StopTheSteal on Twitter was the president’s son, Eric Trump. “The amount of FRAUD being reported in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin is unreal. Please report personal experiences. Please have all facts and evidence. #StopTheSteal,” he tweeted on Thursday.
Twitter began monitoring the hashtag #StopTheSteal and related Tweets early on Tuesday and have continued to do so. They’ve taken action in instances were users have violated Twitter rules, said a company spokesperson. “Our teams will remain vigilant, specifically on this hashtag and on protecting the integrity of the election conversation across Twitter broadly,” the spokesperson said.
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