Facebook on Thursday removed a group called Stop the Steal, a pro-Trump group organizing public calls for election integrity as several states still have not finished counting ballots. The group had grown to more than 361,000 members in 24 hours.
Facebook justified the decision by alleging the group "called for violence" and was "organized around the delegitimization of the election process." The first charge is serious; if there is solid evidence of that, then perhaps Facebook's decision would be justified. But the evidence appears thin. A leftist hit-piece cited group members invoking the Second Amendment and issuing "vague calls to action" (like "fight" back against political maneuvering) as examples of "violent speech."
Facebook's second charge that the group was working to "delegitimize" the election is illuminating. For Facebook, the legitimacy of the election is beyond question; it's ordinary Americans demanding free, fair, and transparent elections who are the problem.
Facebook announced other "emergency" measures to control which information about the election they allow users to see. These include forcing those who wish to read election-related information to click through a notice offering to redirect them to Facebook-curated election news (Facebook admits this measure is designed to create "friction" to slow down the spread of whatever they determine to be misinformation). They also plan to manipulate their algorithms to slow the spread of undesirable information.
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