Finance

"Worrying requires violence" immediate Fb to take away the fast-growing pro-Trump group

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© Reuters. File photo of the Twitter logo displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE

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By Elizabeth Culliford and Raphael Satter

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc. (O 🙂 said Thursday it toppled a rapidly growing group in which some supporters of US President Donald Trump posted violent rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims that Democrats were stealing the elections.

On Thursday afternoon, the Stop the Steal group calling for “boots on the ground to protect the integrity of the vote” added 1,000 new members every 10 seconds, growing to 365,000 in a single day.

"The group aimed to delegitimize the electoral process and we saw worrying calls from some members of the group about violence," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement.

She said the move is in line with the "extraordinary measures" Facebook has taken during "this period of heightened tension".

Unsubstantiated and debunked claims about the integrity of the U.S. elections have been made on social media by Trump and high profile Republican accounts, and the hashtag #StopTheSteal has gained momentum.

The "Stop the Steal" group had prepared for Facebook to take action and directed new members to an email login page "in case social media censors this group".

Another group with the same name but different administrators told its members that no threats were allowed and that they should take precautionary measures, such as: B. Pictures with words instead of text. This group, which had more than 2,000 members, also said it would privatize in a few days.

Facebook public groups can be seen, searched, and connected by anyone on Facebook, while only members can see posts in private groups.

Facebook has billed groups as community forums for common interests, but surveillance organizations and social media researchers have argued that they can be breeding grounds for bipartisan misinformation.

"Facebook enabled and expanded the infrastructure that is now being used to attack our democratic process," said Arisha Hatch, executive director of the racial justice group Color Of Change.

Facebook, which usually recommends groups to users that they want to join based on their activities on the site, suspended those recommendations for political groups and new election-related groups last week.

The now removed Stop the Steal group was led by the Trump action group Women for America First. The non-profit organization organized protests against COVID-19 restrictions and supported Trump in his impeachment hearing.

On Twitter, one of the administrators of the Facebook group, Amy Kremer, said, "The left is trying to steal an election and social media is complicit," she said. "That's rude!"

Facebook rules prohibit declarations of intent or advocating violence based on voting, voter registration, or the outcome of an election.

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