Enlarge /. Pro-Trump protesters break the windows of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
For the past few days, Facebook has been at war with content that supports Wednesday's attack on the U.S. Capitol. Last week, Facebook and Instagram suspended President Donald Trump's accounts on Facebook and Instagram indefinitely. Now Facebook is saying it is banning posts containing the phrase "Stop the Steal" – a popular rally for people who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.
"We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and continue to remove pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence," Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday. Facebook says it enabled "robust talks" about the outcome of the 2020 election. However, the company said it "made further attempts to organize events against the result of the US presidential election." Facebook fears that these efforts could "lead to violence".
The action is not automatic. On Monday around 5 p.m. I was able to write a Facebook post that said, "Will Facebook tell me to stop the theft?"
Facebook isn't the only tech company to announce new restrictions to prevent a repeat of last Wednesday's violence. Until last week, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party used ExactTarget, an email marketing program from Salesforce, to send out donation emails. In the days leading up to last Wednesday's uprising, the campaign sent several donation emails a day. However, no more emails have been sent since Wednesday. Salesforce confirmed to Vice that it had "taken action" against the Republican National Committee to "prevent the use of our services in ways that could lead to violence."
Measures like this are being taken amid growing concerns that more violence could occur until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20. On Monday, federal authorities said they wanted to swear off part of the country's capital six days before Biden. Some right-wing extremists have vowed to return to the capital before the inauguration next week to stop the transfer of power. It is not clear how many, if any, of these people will enforce these threats. But technology managers and law enforcement agencies don't want to be flat-footed again.