Facebook announced on Monday that they would be banning the phrase "stop the steal" as the United States approaches the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan 20.
"We're taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies we used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks," Facebook stated. "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 common slogan used by supporters of President Donald Trump's election fraud claims. Trump and many of his supporters have alleged that the 2020 election swung in Joe Biden's favour due to electoral fraud and voter fraud.
While some instances of voter fraud have been uncovered since the election, there is no evidence that it occurred on a large enough scale to swing the entire election.
The move from Facebook comes as big tech platforms ramp up censorship of conservative content and users. Facebook suspended Trump's account on both Facebook and Instagram indefinitely following the storming of Capitol Hill by pro-Trump rioters, many of whom organized under the "stop the steal" slogan. Facebook has since censored the accounts of other conservatives and libertarians such as former Congressman Ron Paul.
Prior to the recent crackdown on conservative users, Facebook placed so-called "fact checks" under articles or posts promoting the narrative that the election was stolen.
Facebook's mass censorship of conservative voices has corresponded with a crackdown on conservatives by Twitter, which suspended Trump's Twitter account permanently before moving to censor other conservatives on their platform.
Facebook noted that it "may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts." They also pointed out that they had previously deleted the Stop the Steal Facebook group.
"We’ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue," Facebook claimed. "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." It is unclear if the phrase will be allowed back on the platform after the inauguration.
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