Facebook Shuts Down Massive ‘Stop the Steal’ Group
As of Thursday morning, a massive Facebook group called “Stop the Steal” was raising funds to challenge election results across the country, falsely claiming that Democrats were stealing the election in states where President Trump has fallen behind.
On Thursday afternoon, Facebook banned the group on the basis of attempting to delegitimize the election process, and for its role in potentially instigating physical 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. 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 spokesperson told OneZero.
For two days, the group promoted baseless claims about election fraud, such as the conspiracy theory that Trump votes were being discarded.
The group was reportedly started by Women for America First, a conservative nonprofit founded by political activist Amy Kremer and her daughter, Kylie, according to Reuters.
Women for America First shared fundraising callouts to the group, claiming the money would be used for “boots on the ground” efforts in key battleground states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. It’s unclear how much money the nonprofit has raised as a result of the Facebook group.
“We need help for flights, gas, and hotels,” the nonprofit wrote in a post shared to Stop the Steal.
Several smaller groups identically named “Stop the Steal” remain on the platform, however. In one such group, an administrator warned members to “Please keep content as appropriate as possible. Venting frustrations is okay. No threats. Use IMAGES with WORDS instead of text to help secure your message. No things regarding the alphabet letter (Q). We have MEWE for that.”
Some of these groups are now creating backups on MeWe, a platform that markets itself as a free speech alternative to Facebook. OneZero previously reported that U.S. militia groups were using MeWe to organize ahead of the election.
Members of these groups are also sharing content generated off-platform, such as a Substack post titled “5 things you can do now to #StopTheSteal” that encourages people to “Participate in citizen journalism by monitoring and documenting ballot counting.”
Mobs of Trump supporters have already descended on vote-counting centers in states like Arizona and Michigan, in some cases demanding that votes stop being counted despite the fact that Trump is currently behind Vice President Biden.