Facebook Shuts Down Large Pro-Trump 'Stop the Steal' Group for Spreading Election Misinformation and Calling for Violence

Megan McCluskey
·2 min read

Facebook has officially shut down “Stop the Steal,” a pro-Trump group which had amassed over 364,000 members in less than 48 hours, for promoting election misinformation regarding ongoing vote counts.

With protests over the ongoing tally of votes sweeping through a number of U.S. cities, Facebook tells TIME that it removed the group on Thursday over “worrying calls for violence.”

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

The group, which appeared to be linked to the pro-Trump organization Women for America First as well as the Tea Party, was created in the wake of President Donald Trump falsely claiming that he had defeated Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during a speech he delivered from the East Room of the White House after 2 a.m. ET on Wednesday morning.

As state and local election officials continued to count ballots across the country in the days after Election Day, Trump continued to post false and misleading tweets, in which he made baseless allegations about voter fraud in key states. Many of these tweets were flagged by Twitter for containing disputed or misleading information. The description of the “Stop the Steal” group on Facebook seemed to reference Trump’s claims.

“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,” the page read. “Along with President Trump, we will do whatever it takes to ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation.”

Posts on the page were rife with misinformation, including unsubstantiated claims that election workers were throwing out ballots or that voters in Maricopa County in Arizona were encouraged to vote with Sharpies that would make their ballots illegible.

The “Stop the Steal” movement has also spread to Twitter, with some pro-Trump users tagging their posts with the corresponding hashtag.