WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Facebook has barred all pages, events, and groups representing QAnon accounts from its platforms to discourage ‘militarized social movements’ from organizing online.
- The ban, including Instagram accounts, is the company’s response to the controversial QAnon posts and ads that promote violence as well as spread false information about the pandemic.
- QAnon followers have claimed that a group of Democrats are members of a child-eating society secretly planning to overthrow President Trump.
Facebook announced Tuesday that it is prohibiting all QAnon accounts from its platforms in a bid to ban “militarized social movements” from operating online.
In a press release, the social media giant said that all Facebook pages and groups as well as Instagram accounts tied to QAnon will be taken down.
“We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks,” the statement read.
The release also said that this policy will continue to be implemented by their Dangerous Organizations Operations team as they proactively detect content for removal instead of depending on reports from users.
The decision so far exemplifies the company’s strongest response to the controversial online right-wing conspiracy movement that has increasingly infused itself into the nation’s political debate. It even goes one step ahead of Facebook’s ad guidelines where QAnon ads were barred last week.
Following the announcement in August on the policy change, some 1,500 pages, groups and profiles of QAnon accounts that preached about violence were pulled out.
The reason for the ban says Facebook is to “bring to parity what we’ve been doing on other pieces of policy with regard to militarized social movements.”
QAnon emerged from online posts on the user-created message board 8kun by an anonymous user called “Q” who alleged that a league of prominent Democrats and celebrities are part of a secret child-eating ring plotting against President Trump.
NBC News reported last week that QAnon followers also spread the conspiracy theory that Trump was not infected with COVID-19 but has in fact launched a fictitious secret mission predicted by them. Several disciples also believe the pandemic is not real.
In August, posts from a QAnon advocate that floated false information about coronavirus statistics were also taken down by Twitter.
Joan Donovan, director of research at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, told NBC that every QAnon account, event, and page are tracks where misinformation can be fueled.
“So, it is imperative that Facebook dismantle their infrastructure. Without Facebook, they are not rendered inert, but it will make it more difficult to quickly spread disinformation,” said Donovan.
Source: New York Post