• publish: 20 August 2020
  • time: 1:31 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 14916

Facebook bans more than 790 groups tied to QAnon conspiracy theory

Facebook on Wednesday banned about 900 pages and groups and 1,500 ads tied to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon, as part of a drive to limit the spread of the dangerous ideology online.

Facebook also restricted the reach of over 10,000 Instagram pages and almost 2,000 Facebook groups promoting right-wing conspiracy movement QAnon, which is blamed for having sparked real-world violence.

The social media group also took down thousands of accounts, pages and groups as part of what they called a ‘policy expansion,’ seeking to limit violent rhetoric tied to QAnon, political militias and protest groups.

This comes after mounting pressure against Facebook to clamp down on hate speech and dangerous conspiracy theories.

The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. 

For more than two years, followers have pored over tangled clues purportedly posted online by a high-ranking government official known only as “Q.”

The conspiracy theory emerged in a dark corner of the internet but has recently crept into mainstream politics. 

Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts and its followers flock to his rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans.

Facebook meanwhile said it will only remove groups and accounts outright if they discuss potential violence.

“We will continue studying specific terminology and symbolism used by supporters to identify the language used by these groups and movements indicating violence and take action accordingly,” the company said.

As a result of the policy changes, Facebook said it had removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon on Facebook and has blocked over 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram. 

There are 1,950 other groups Facebook says it has identified that remain on the platform but face restrictions, along with 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

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