Peloton, a company known for its internet-connected bikes and treadmills, is wading into the Stop The Steal mess. The company is now preventing users from creating a #StopTheSteal tag from within the app, saying the tag does not “meet our guidelines” when a user goes to create it. Peloton’s community guidelines specifically ban “hate, offensive, and obscene speech” as well as “bullying, harassment, and other offensive behavior.” We’ve reached out for additional clarification about when Peloton began blocking this hashtag and why.
Tags on Peloton function as community identifiers. When people join a tag, it appears under their name on the company’s leaderboard during workouts, and they can socialize with other members of that tag. Anyone can create a tag, and new tags are popping up in response to the #StopTheSteal ban. Groups like #StopTheSteall, #StopTheSteel, #StopTheCensorship, and #StopTheFraud are all marked as “new” in the app.
This isn’t the first time Peloton has had to ban potentially inciting phrases. Last year, the company banned political talk from its official Facebook groups as well as QAnon-related tags, offering up the same community guidelines message. Although the app doesn’t allow for live chatting with people in a class, the tags still share specific messages. The #BlueLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter tags are still allowed within the app.
Other tech companies have also moved to limit this hashtag’s reach. Instagram allows the hashtag to exist on the platform but only shows “top” posts for it, not the most recent.