A massive pro-Trump Facebook group named "Stop the Steal" was shut down by the social media company after quickly amassing over 360,000 followers since it was created on Wednesday. The group described itself as pledging to "do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation."
Amy Kremer, a former Tea Party activist and co-founder of Women for Trump, started the Stop the Steal Facebook group. The group page was run by the Women for America First, an organization led by Kremer that describes itself as: "Engaging, inspiring and empowering women to make a difference."
The description of the now-deleted page reads: "Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes. It's up to us, the American People, to fight and to put a stop to it."
On Thursday morning, Kremer warned that "Facebook is flagging almost every post as false," and added that the social network is "probably going to shut us down."
Shortly before 2 p.m., Kremer announced that the Stop the Steal Facebook group had been removed.
"Wow. @Facebook just shut down the @america1stwomen #StoptheSteal group The group wasn't even 24 hours old and had over 350K members," Kremer wrote on Twitter. "The left is trying to steal an election and Social media is complicit. This is outrageous!"
According to a screenshot of the group's page, it had attracted 365,000 followers in 22 hours. Reuters noted that the page was adding 1,000 new members every 10 seconds.
Wow. @Facebook just shut down the @america1stwomen #StoptheSteal group The group wasn’t even 24 hours old and ha… https://t.co/YPfZwi3kzw— Amy Kremer (@Amy Kremer)1604601990.0
"The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement.
The group was organizing protests and called for "boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote."
Before Facebook banned the Stop the Steal group, several media outlets were calling for the page to be de-platformed:
- Media Matters wrote an article with the headline, "Right-wing influencers are using the #StopTheSteal hashtag to buoy Trump's attempts to undercut democracy."
- Rolling Stone stated that the group was "spreading dangerous misinformation" in an article titled, "Pro-Trump 'Stop the Steal' Group Is Rapidly Expanding, and Facebook Is Letting It."
- Mother Jones published an article titled, "A Massive "Stop the Count" Facebook Group Has Ties to Republican Operatives."
When Facebook users clicked on the group's page, they were encouraged to sign up for updates through the StolenElection.us website. The domain for the site is registered to the Liberty Lab, which was involved in Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign.
Social media censorship of conservatives has been a hot topic. During testimony before the Senate last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that he was not aware that the company's head election integrity official had previously worked as a policy adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Twitter has slapped a label on any tweet that makes claims about election results before they're officially called and any other "misleading information."