Facebook removes conspiracy group posts
FACEBOOK has taken down hundreds of accounts linked to conspiracy group QAnon in a widespread crackdown on movements “tied to violence”.
The social media giant removed 790 QAnon groups, including 100 pages and 1,500 ads on its core site. It also imposed restrictions on over 1,950 groups and 440 pages across Facebook and Instagram.
QAnon believers claim the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who are plotting against president Donald Trump while operating a global child sex-trafficking ring. The baseless 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.
The FBI last year said in a report that QAnon was one of several movements that could drive “both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts”.
“We have seen growing movements that, while not directly organising violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behaviour,” Facebook said in a blogpost. Earlier this month, Facebook removed a QAnon group with 200,000 followers, but its latest move against the group is part of a wider “policy expansion” to identify and delete pages and other associated content with discussions of “potential violence”.
Facebook said it will continue “studying specific terminology and symbolism” used by supporters of groups like QAnon to work out when “veiled language” might be used.
Facebook’s crackdown on QAnon came just hours before the president offered a defence of the group, claiming its followers are “people who love our country”.