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Twitter suspends Steve Bannon's account for saying Dr Anthony Fauci should be beheaded

Bannon suggested that Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded “as a warning to federal bureaucrats”.

Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon

TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED an account belonging to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon after he suggested that Dr Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded. 

Bannon falsely claimed Donald Trump had won the election and said that he should fire both Fauci and Wray. He then went further to say he would have them beheaded as “a warning to federal bureaucrats”. 

The comments were made during a livestream of Bannon’s ‘War Room: Pandemic’ online show.

The video was posted on Facebook and had been viewed more than 200,000 times before Facebook removed it. The video was also posted on Facebook Live where it was viewed 454,000 times.

CNN reports that YouTube also removed the video for violating its policy against “inciting violence”.

Facebook has also banned a large group called Stop the Steal that supporters of Donald Trump were using to organise protests against the presidential vote count.

Some members had called for violence, while many falsely claimed Democrats were “stealing” the election from Republicans.

Though the group amassed more than 350,000 members before Facebook took it down, it was just one of several smaller groups that appeared as vote counting extended for days in several battleground states.

Inside the groups, members and organisers tried to ensure they would evade Facebook’s moderators and “trolls” who might report or mock them.

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal’, which was creating real-world events,” Facebook said in a statement.

“The group was organised around the delegitimisation of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

Facebook said it would continue to watch for activity violating its rules and would take action if necessary.

As of yesterday afternoon, a copycat Stop the Steal group was growing steadily, nearing 13,000 members, and others were easily searchable on Facebook.

Inside the groups, members organised protests and posted baseless claims of voter fraud.

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Calls for violence were not immediately apparent, although the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) shared a screenshot of one post in the now-banned group that read: “Neither side is going to concede. Time to clean the guns, time to hit the streets.”

In the new group, administrators — who create and moderate groups on Facebook, cautioned people to keep posts civil and vent frustrations without making threats. They scrupulously warned members they would remove any posts calling for violence, and said they were making plans to move the group to other, less-moderated platforms.

Imran Ahmed, CEO of the CCDH, which pressured Facebook to take down the group, said while it was true the process of stopping such groups seemed like a game of whack-a-mole, the moles were slowly learning their lesson.

“By taking out the largest one, it sent a message to others,” he said.

But Ahmed said it should not be so difficult to get Facebook to take action on such a large group calling for violence.

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