By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Social media mainstay Facebook announced Monday it is removing all content from its platform that bears the phrase "stop the steal," a popular refrain among US President Donald Trump's supporters that falsely alleges widespread voter fraud.
The new policy will also include content on Facebook subsidiary Instagram, the company said in a statement.
"We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and have continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence," Facebook said.
"We’ve been allowing robust conversations related to the election outcome and that will continue. 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," it added.
The new policy has already been implemented, and while Facebook said a "significant number of posts" have already been removed, it noted the effort would take time to be fully enforced.
Just minutes before the Capitol was stormed last Wednesday, Trump implored his supporters to "fight like hell" to "stop the steal," a reference to his false claims that the Nov. 3 election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud. He lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden by 7 million votes.
"Our country has had enough, and we will not take it anymore," Trump told the mass gathering, many of whom likely later flooded the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying Electoral College results. "We will stop the steal."
Five people died during the ensuing mayhem in the federal legislature, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to his wounds on Thursday.
Successive court cases have rejected Trump's claims, and the Justice Department failed to gather any evidence that would be corroborated to voter fraud on the scale Trump alleges. Former Attorney General William Barr, a staunch Trump ally, acknowledged the fact before he left the department last month.