Tech

Facebook vows to remove all ‘Stop the Steal’ posts, but just look at what happened last time

Facebook would like to stop “Stop the Steal,” this time for real.

In a statement posted on Monday, the company announced that in preparation for Inauguration Day, it would take down any posts on Facebook or Instagram that use the phrase “stop the steal.”

The company says it will “take some time” to fully roll out this new policy.

Facebook said it’s taking action under its policy, which states: “In an effort to prevent and disrupt offline harm and copycat behavior, we prohibit people from facilitating, organizing, promoting, or admitting to certain criminal or harmful activities targeted at people, businesses, property or animals.”

However, this isn’t the first time Facebook attempted to block “Stop the Steal” on its platform. 

Two days after the election in November, Facebook that it would “temporarily” hide searches for #StopTheSteal and #SharpieGate due to the overwhelming amount of election misinformation spreading on the site.

Searching for those terms now, it appears searches for #SharpieGate are still being blocked. However, searches for #StopTheSteal once again surface content with the hashtag.

Here’s how Facebook looked before when searching the hashtag #StopTheSteal on November 5, 2020:

And here’s what it looks like now:

Facebook vows to remove all 'Stop the Steal' posts, but just look at what happened last time

While searching for #StopTheSteal once again results in a list of public posts, searches for specific posts, groups, and pages are still blocked. Facebook has also removed the advanced search bar from #StopTheSteal results pages.

“Stop the Steal” has become a rallying cry for Trump supporters since the November election. They claim the soon-to-be former president actually won the election in a landslide. The rally and ensuing storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, which resulted in five deaths, were organized under the “Stop the Steal” banner.

As Facebook notes in its statement, the company has previously taken action against “Stop the Steal.” Following the election in November, Facebook the original “Stop the Steal” group for breaking its policies and spreading conspiracy theories. 

It didn’t for other “Stop the Steal” groups to pop up, although the company says it continues to monitor these related groups and pages for policy violations.

Mashable has reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post when we hear back.



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