The company published a statement announcing it was removing content containing the phrase that was practiced by supporters of President Donald Trump to question the integrity of the 2020 general election. Trump fans held many rallies across the country called “Stop the Steal” following the Nov. 3 election.
The social media company said that the move is an effort to exclude content that “could incite further violence during these next few weeks.” Content will be removed under the company’s Coordinating Harm policy.
“We’ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue,” Facebook officials Guy Rosen and Monika Bickert said in a statement.
“But with continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election that can lead to violence, and use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC, we’re taking this additional step in the lead up to the inauguration.”
This comes as big tech companies increased struggles to censor content that they assert could provoke potential harm offline. The companies’ latest round of content monitoring started after a series of civil unrest and acts of violence-marred otherwise peaceful protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
A group of rioters and a minority of protesters waving American and Trump flags illegally charged the Capitol building as lawmakers were counting electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. Encounters on the day left five people dead—three for medical reasons—and dozens of police officers injured.
Facebook said that it has teams working 24/7 to enforce its policies days leading up to and around Jan. 20. They said they have already excluded a critical number of posts.
“We will keep our Integrity Operations Center operating at least through January 22 to monitor and respond to threats in real time,” the company said.
The company, which has continually rejected Trump’s account on the platform, has also suspended ads in the United States about politics and the elections and said it would keep a number of measures and limitations that put in place before the U.S. elections, such as not promoting civic groups for people to join.
A “news digest” will be added to the platform’s news section so that its users can “find reliable news” about Jan. 20, the company added.
The aimed policing by Facebook, Twitter, and other Silicon Valley companies have raised attention over First Amendment rights and the lack of checks and balances on decisions made by big tech companies.