Nearly two months after Election Day, Facebook is removing all content with the phrase "stop the steal," used to spread misinformation about the 2020 presidential election result. The company did remove the original group with the phrase as its name, but there was still content, including it. Some of President Donald Trump's supporters were seen carrying signs with the phrase during the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
On Monday, Facebook VP Integrity Guy Rosen and VP Global Policy Management Moka Bickert announced plans to remove and content with the "stop the steal" phrase on Facebook and Instagram under its "Coordinating Harm" policy. Although the original "Stop the Steal" group was removed in November, Facebook allowed "robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue," the executives wrote. However, since some users have continued attempting to organize events supporting the overturning of the election results, the company took the new "additional step" ahead of the inauguration on Jan. 20. It could take "some time to scale up enforcement" of this new move, Rosen and Bickert wrote.
Facebook also said its ongoing ban on political advertising would continue. The ban covers all politicians, including Trump. On the day after the riot, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced he would ban Trump from the platform. "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Zuckerberg wrote. "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."
Facebook operations chief Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters Thursday the social network has no immediate plans to lift the ban on Trump's accounts. Trump could appeal to removing his content but could not appeal his suspension to Facebook's Oversight Board. "This shows the president is not above the policies we have," Sandberg explained.
After Facebook banned Trump, Twitter did so as well on Friday. Twitter "permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the company said in a statement. Trump tried to get around the ban using the @POTUS account and published a statement accusing Twitter of silencing him. This post was removed as well, moments after it was published.