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Etsy bans “Stop the Steal” beanies for “harmful misinformation”

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In the wake of the 2020 US presidential election, many Big Tech platforms cracked down on users who were using the “Stop the Steal” slogan to highlight vote-counting irregularities.

Now ecommerce platform Etsy has started to remove products containing this phrase and has banned a listing for Stop the Steal beanie hats that were being sold by the Etsy seller Deplorable Knitter.

Columnist and author Michelle Malkin shared a photo of the hats that had been banned and the email that Etsy sent to Deplorable Knitter after her listing was removed.

The email states that certain types of content are “not appropriate” for the Etsy marketplace including “content that promotes or endorses harmful misinformation, including items that can obstruct election integrity.”

It adds:

“Now that a projected winner of the US presidential election has been announced, contradictory declarations of victory or content that disputes the validity of the outcome may be considered harmful misinformation and will be removed in order to minimize confusion about the election outcome.”

The email also states that even if it isn’t a seller’ intention to spread harmful misinformation, Etsy may still remove items that “aren’t in the spirit of our marketplace.”

Etsy’s crackdown on these beanies follows Facebook and Twitter suppressing popular groups that use this slogan.

While these Big Tech platforms have been regularly censoring content that they deem to be misinformation over the past year, Etsy is a relative newcomer when it comes to censoring based on this phrase.

However, in October, Etsy did ban all items related to QAnon and cited its rules prohibiting items that endorse or promote harmful misinformation.

Etsy also introduced restrictions on face mask sellers earlier this year and banned them from using the words “coronavirus” or “COVID-19” in their listings for masks.

This isn’t the first time censorship has impacted the knitting community. In 2019, the popular knitting site Ravelry banned support of President Trump and his administration.

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