After Backlash, MeWe Says Users Are ‘Free to Discuss’ Stop the Steal

The company’s CEO says MeWe does not enforce ‘political litmus tests’ or target political affiliations

Sarah Emerson
OneZero
Published in
4 min readFeb 3, 2021

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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Alternative social network MeWe became a destination for right-wing speech surrounding the Capitol riots last month. In groups and chatrooms, some users celebrated the violence in Washington, D.C., and endorsed the possibility of killing their perceived opponents.

Following the attack, MeWe announced that it was cooperating with U.S. Capitol Police and cracked down on far-right groups like Stop the Steal across the platform. MeWe says it began removing accounts and messages promoting violence and in a tweet, the company said it was removing Stop the Steal groups and encouraged people to report such communities. “We are taking Stop the Steal groups down on MeWe,” the company tweeted to me and a colleague after I reported on its evolution from a small community hub to a high profile platform championed by the far right. “If you find any, please send us the links. Thank you!”

The moves angered members of far-right movements who accused MeWe of censorship, and now it appears the company is walking back some of these moderation efforts. Groups such as the Patriot Party, which has seemingly absorbed momentum from Stop the Steal, are openly proliferating on the site.

In a post to MeWe’s news and updates page last Wednesday, MeWe president Jason Hardy referred to a tweet made by the company in regard to its ongoing moderation efforts. Hardy corrected the tweet, which he called a “communications mistake.” The post underscored that MeWe does not enforce “political litmus tests” or target political affiliations.

Both the tweet that Hardy referred to and the tweet regarding the removal of Stop the Steal groups have been deleted.

“A MeWe employee tweeted a reply from MeWe’s Twitter account to a journalist who had initiated contact with MeWe via email and Twitter, because they had…

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Sarah Emerson
OneZero

Staff writer at OneZero covering social platforms, internet communities, and the spread of misinformation online. Previously: VICE