Facebook says they're deleting any content containing the phrase "stop the steal." That should calm everyone down.

Jan 11th

If you were trying to rile up the folks who are concerned about election fraud even more, this is how you'd do it.

Facebook put out a statement today regarding their plans leading up to Inauguration Day. And they revealed that one of their strategies is to remove any content on Facebook and Instagram that contains the phrase "stop the steal."

We are now removing content containing the phrase "stop the steal" under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram. We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and have continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence.

I think it's fascinating how Facebook has inserted themselves into the democratic process. They even spun up an "Integrity Operations Center" that's been running 24/7 to "monitor and respond to threats in real time."

I get it, I think. They are doing everything possible to make sure no one can accuse them of being the place people congregated to plan violence. That's a heavy burden to carry, I'm sure. But that doesn't make it any less creepy. Because to do so they are choosing to become the de facto arbiter of truth.

Case in point:

During inauguration week, we will add a news digest to Facebook News as a curated place for people to find reliable news about the inauguration. This will include live video of the inauguration at the US Capitol on January 20. Facebook News often includes news digests dedicated to events of national or global significance, such as "COVID-19" or "Unrest in America" with stories selected by the curation team. There will also be curated live video of the inauguration and other major moments on Facebook Watch.

My fear is that, in the end, all actions like this do is stoke the white hot concerns people already have about election integrity, collusion, and their rapidly constricting ability to speak freely or have access to information that dissents from a narrowly defined narrative. This, in turn, makes it more likely (not less) that people who are already feeling marginalized will find some way to lash out.

You're just making things worse.


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