Facebook removed last night a fast-growing group in which supporters of US President Donald Trump posted violent rhetoric, as the social media giant, as well as Twitter, step up efforts to take down baseless claims and avoid potential violence after a contentious election.
The “Stop the Steal” group, which called for “boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote,” was adding 1,000 new members every 10 seconds and had grown to 365,000 members in a day, Reuters reported on Friday.
“The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members,” a Facebook spokeswoman reportedly said.
Facebook stressed the group’s removal was in line with “exceptional measures” amid “heightened tension.”
Measures Facebook introduced last night include warning users results are not final as well as limiting how many people are shown live video about the election, or posts that the company’s algorithms believe contain political misinformation.
Twitter has also been less patient with disinformation and calls for violence. Eleven of President Trump’s 32 tweets since Election Day on Tuesday have been placed behind a warning label saying they were disputed, prompting him to use email and other media to voice his claims, researchers reportedly said.
“Social media platforms can’t allow themselves to be used to foment anti-democratic and potentially violent activity,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
Twitter also suspended an account yesterday used by former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon after he recorded a video in which he called for beheading FBI Director Christopher Wray as well as government infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci for being disloyal to Trump.
Last night, Snapchat removed a video from Trump’s account in which Biden said he has an extensive “voter fraud organization.” Biden’s statement came during an interview in which he was discussing his team fighting voter suppression efforts, and Snap determined that Trump’s use out of context violated its policy against undermining the integrity of civic processes.
Trump campaign social media manager Ryann McEnany reportedly decried Snap’s action in a tweet, saying in capital letters: “Why won’t they let the American people see this!?”