Facebook has deleted a Group called ‘Stop the Steal’ only a day after it was created due to concerning posts indicating support for violence. The group had amassed more than a quarter-million followers, raking in thousands every minute at one point, according to a new report. Facebook has confirmed that it deleted the Group as part of the ‘exceptional measures’ it has taken in relation to the election.
Though the US presidential election is not over yet, all signs point in Biden’s favor, spurring lawsuits, a mass of disinformation spread on social media, and false claims that voter fraud is taking place. The now-defunct Facebook Group ‘Stop the Steal’ popped up in reaction to these allegations, proclaiming that Americans needed to ‘fight and put a stop to’ the supposed fraud they believe is taking place.
The Facebook Group, which had more than 360,000 followers by the time it was removed, included concerning threats of violence from members who believe false claims that Democrats are stealing the election. VICE News, which got confirmation from Facebook that the Group has been removed, managed to save a collection of posts from the Group before it was removed.
These posts allegedly included calls for armed responses and civil war in an effort to prevent the election from continuing. More concerning, the Group was found to be organizing events in ‘contested states,’ with at least one event supposedly taking place this upcoming Saturday — though no location was given, thousands of Group members had indicated willingness to attend.
It seems the Group had created a related website for followers under the awareness that Facebook would likely shut down the Group at some point. It’s unclear whether this website is still up and whether the Group’s creators are planning to move ahead with their event.
The Group underscores the ongoing problem social media platforms face and the role they play in the spread of disinformation. Though Facebook has deployed fact-checkers, misinformation warnings, and more, a large quantity of misinformation and disinformation — particularly about the election — continue to circulate, adding fuel to the fire.