Facebook, Twitter take actions ahead of Inauguration Day

Monday, Facebook and Twitter announced changes ahead Inauguration Day.

Both companies said urgency was needed after the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol stemming from communication on social media sites.

Facebook said on Monday that they are taking additional steps and using the same teams and technologies they used during the general election to stop misinformation and content that could incite further violence during these next few weeks.

In many of their updated moves, Facebook will be removing content containing the phrase "stop the steal" under the Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram. The company had previously removed the original ‘Stop the Steal’ group in November and have continued to remove pages, groups and events that violate any of Facebook’s policies, including calls for violence.

Mob at US Capitol encouraged by online conspiracy theories

"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 may take some time to scale up our enforcement of this new step but we have already removed a significant number of posts," the social networking giant said in a statement, in part, Monday.

In addition, during inauguration week, Facebook will add a news digest to Facebook News as a curated place for people to find reliable news about the inauguration. Some material will include live video of the inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20.

"We’ve had emergency measures in place since before the US elections such as not recommending civic groups for people to join. Last week, we implemented several additional ones, including increasing the requirement of group admins to review and approve posts before they can go up, automatically disabling comments on posts in groups that start to have a high rate of hate speech or content that incites violence, and using AI to further demote content that likely violates our policies. We’re keeping these measures in place."

"We will stay vigilant to additional threats and take further action if necessary to keep people safe and informed," the company concluded in its statement.

To read more about recent updates to Facebook, click here.

Twitter said that it plans to "take strong enforcement action on behavior that is potential to lead to offline harm."

According to Twitter, following the violent event that took place at the Capitol last week, it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts. The social media company says most were sharing QAnon content.

Other measures Twitter has taken includes:

  • Escalated enforcement measures for the company’s civic integrity policy
  • Deploying tech to surface harmful tweets that need human review
  • Blocking violative keywords for search and trends