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Facebook shuts down pro-Trump group ‘Stop the Steal’

Facebook officially shut down “Stop the Steal,” a pro-Trump group that had amassed more than 364,000 members in less than 48 hours, for promoting election misinformation about the ongoing vote count.

With vote recount protests ongoing in several US cities, Facebook tells TIME it removed the group on Thursday over “troubling calls for violence.”

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

The group, which seemed to be linked The pro-Trump organization Women for America First, as well as the Tea Party, was created after President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he had defeated Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a speech he delivered from the East Room of the House. White after 2 am 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 fake other misleading tweets, in which he made baseless accusations of voter fraud in key states. Twitter flagged many of these tweets for containing disputed or misleading information. The description of the “Stop the Steal” group on Facebook appeared to refer to Trump’s claims.

“The Democrats are schemes to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes. It’s up to us, the American people, to fight back and stop him,” the page said. “Together 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 littered with misinformation, including unsubstantiated claims that poll workers were throwing out ballots or that voters in Maricopa County, Arizona were being encouraged to vote with Sharpies that would make their ballots unreadable.

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

More must-read stories from TIME


write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.


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