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Facebook needs to stop pretending that it didn’t have anything to do with the US Capitol riots

Facebook, stop kidding yourself.

facebook logo with qanon supporters in background
Image: KnowTechie

During a recent Reuters Next conference, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg spoke about the election, the US Capitol riots, and Donald Trump’s ban.

While she states they have no plans on reinstating Trump’s account, it was her statements about the “Stop the Steal” movement and subsequent riots at the US Capitol that have people shaking their heads.

“I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, and don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency,” she noted. Ahh, yes, the safe PR answer.

While platforms like Parler obviously played a large role in the movement, Facebook’s actions, or lack thereof, can’t be ignored. “Stop the Steal” pages ran rampant until January 12, when Facebook nuked the term.

As Vice reports, even after January 6, when the riots occurred, there were at least 60 larger “Stop the Steal” Facebook groups, some with tens of thousands of members and millions of interactions.

These very groups helped organize the riot and Facebook is responsible for that. Even after the riots, Ali Alexander, who claims to be the organizer of the protests last week, was posting threatening messages on Instagram. He has since been suspended from both Facebook and Instagram.

One only needs to do a little digging past the “Stop the Steal” motto to find other groups flourishing on the platform, inciting much of the same violence and unrest. Alex Thomas, a writer at Playboy and Men’s Health, for example, found a Facebook group telling people to arm themselves and rally in Dover, Delaware to honor the woman killed at the Capitol and “protest tyrants.”

So tell me again, Facebook, how exactly does your “standards” line up with this?

Have any thoughts on this? Is Facebook doing enough? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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