Post-election chaos on Facebook continues. On Friday morning, a Twitter user pointed out that one of the most heavily followed groups called "Stop The Steal" got an unexpected makeover. Someone went and changed the group's name to "Gay Communists for Socialism." Which, frankly, sounds like much more fun than unfounded conspiracy theories about Trump's desperate efforts to cling to power.
Originally, the "Stop The Steal" group began as a way to encourage protests against the final tallying of ballots in the presidential election. The group, like its peers on the platform, was created to spread unverified information about voter fraud and push conspiracy theories regarding Trump's political opponents in the Democratic Party. It's the natural — if disturbing — product of Donald Trump's own habitual lies and baseless statements on social media about the election being "stolen" from him.
The sudden rebranding — accompanied with photoshopped images of Barack Obama and Joe Biden running with pride flags through the White House — elicited plenty of outrage from the group's members, many of are the sorts who conflate socialism with communism, and who expressed their righteous indignation via a torrent of Facebook's signature angry-face reaction.
Our theory — At first glance, you might think this was a coordinated effort to hack a group to sow political discord. That version sounds serious and even troublesome considering how polarizing the current political environment is. But the more likely and far less menacing explanation — which will probably crack you up — is the following: through whatever means of infiltrating the administrative members of the group, someone was able to kick the other admins off and give the group a much more amusing title.
It was bound to happen considering that "Stop The Steal" refrain from conservatives has attracted a good deal of criticism from anyone with a fully formed brainstem, and rebuttals from every reasonable news outlet worth paying attention to.
Let it live — After an initial delay, Facebook itself had to intervene and take down a massive "Stop The Steal" group on the network with over 300,000 members. The group amassed the following in under 48 hours, prompting criticism about the nature of misinformation in its posts. At the time of removing the group, per The Verge, a Facebook spokesperson said, "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. The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from members of the group."
So far, the identity of the mischief-maker is unknown. Whoever it was has done a great job of providing some levity in what has been a legitimately exhausting week. If they make themselves known, we'd like to buy them a drink when this is all over.