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Facebook Shuts Down Pro-Trump Group 'Stop The Steal' that Was Created to Oppose Election Fraud

11-05-2020

Social media giant Facebook shut down the "Stop The Steal," a pro-Trump group with hundreds of thousands of members that were allegedly organizing protests of vote counts around the country. 

The group had grown to more than 361,000 members within 24 hours and was centered on protesting the administration of the election, which organizers allege has affected by widespread voter fraud, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The Post Millennial.com reported the hashtag #StopTheSteal has gained momentum as numerous high-profile Republican accounts also questioned the integrity of Tuesday's election.

The social media giant's decision to remove the group was "in line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension," according to a Facebook spokesman Andy Stone who said "Stop the Steal" was "creating real-world events."

"The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group," he said in a statement. 

Several media outlets reported a pro-Trump group called "Women for America First" had created and operated the Facebook page. 

"We need boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote," the Facebook page said before it disappeared from view. It encouraged people to donate to help pay for "flights and hotels to send people" to battleground states including Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. 

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The Washington Post reported the Stop The Steal group had been listed as a co-host on 12 different Facebook protest events, including a car caravan planned in California. Some of the events said the goal was to be peaceful. 

"Facebook just silenced over 365,000 American voices," wrote Cindy Pfingston Chafian, one of the group's administrators, in a post on Twitter. "We were organizing people to go to the states to oversee election counting and for rallies and they silenced us!!"

Facebook has said it would give the people involved in administering the election enhanced protections on its platform similar to those given to minority groups targeted by hate speech.

Facebook also took down a private group earlier this week called "Stand Up Michigan to Unlock Michigan"—organized to oppose pandemic-related lockdown measures—that more recently encouraged people to protest the ballot-counting process in Detroit, according to the Wall Street Journal. The group had more than 79,000 members. 

The group's page was removed for violating the same guidelines as Stop The Steal, according to a Facebook spokesman who indicated "potential offline harm." The company also notified law enforcement authorities in Detroit. 

Even though their main page may have been silenced, Stop The Steal rallies continue in several cities across the country. CBN News checked Facebook late Thursday afternoon and videos from rallies in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington, DC could be viewed. 

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