Fb removes pages linked to Bannon to unfold misinformation

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Facebook said Monday that it had removed a network of sites linked to former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon that worked together to spread false information about the presidential election.

The company said it removed seven pages related to the Stop the Steal hashtag, an indication of the Conservatives' baseless allegations that the Democrats stole last week's election. The sites had amassed a following of approximately 2.5 million people.

"We removed multiple activity clusters to use bogus behavioral tactics to artificially increase the number of people who saw their content," said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman. "This includes a group originally called Stop the Steal that later became gay communists for socialism and misled people about their purpose with deceptive tactics."

The move is the latest example of Facebook's sweeping crackdown on misinformation about the elections. In the past few weeks, the company has removed more types of content and taken more steps to contain falsehoods. However, the measures are temporary and focus on the period around the election.

Conservatives who mimick statements by President Trump have used the Stop the Steal idea to form groups and coordinate protests on the Internet. On Thursday, Facebook defeated Stop the Steal's largest Facebook group, which had attracted more than 320,000 followers in less than 24 hours.

But other groups appeared. Facebook took action against them late last week after Avaaz, a progressive nonprofit monitoring digital disinformation, contacted the social network about its proliferation.

Some of the pages were linked to Mr. Bannon's Facebook page, the company said. Some of his Facebook permissions, including the ability to post, were temporarily suspended, but his account was allowed to remain on the site. The Washington Post reported earlier on Facebook's action.

A spokesman for Mr Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Steps didn't go as far as on Twitter, which suspended Mr. Bannon's account on Thursday after posting a video suggesting that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert, and Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. Director, should be beheaded. Mr. Bannon made the comments during a livestream of his show "War Room: Pandemic".

"The @WarRoomPandemic account has been permanently banned for violating Twitter rules, particularly our policies on glorifying violence," a Twitter spokesman said at the time.