Facebook's QAnon Conspiracy Theory Group Crackdown Continues

By Hanna S. , Aug 20, 2020 07:18 AM EDT

Facebook took down groups, pages, and ads linked to QAnon. The right-winged conspiracy theory is claiming that a "deep state" is allegedly plotting against President Trump and his supporters.

The social media giant made the announcement Wednesday. They said that they had expanded their policy. It is meant to thwart organizations and movements that are considered risks to public safety. The policy change also affects pages, groups, and accounts tied to militia organizations and those encouraging riots.

QAnon-related groups, page, and ads were removed

Facebook took down more than 790 groups, 1,500 ads, and 100 pages tied to QAnon. More than 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram were blocked. Additional restrictions were also imposed. It includes more than 1,950 Facebook Groups and 440 Pages. Over 10,000 Instagram accounts were also included.

Facebook also took action against militia organizations and anarchist groups. It included some who may have identified themselves as Antifa. Facebook removed 980 groups and 520 pages. Also removed were 160 ads. It also restricted more than 1,400 hashtags associated with these movements.

Facebook explained that the groups affected do not meet their strict criteria. Hence, they cannot be banned outright from Facebook. To address this, Facebook updated its rules. The new policy restricted these group's ability to use Facebook as a platform to organize.

Facebook outlined the actions it has taken and will take in the future against movements and organizations. One is to remove associated accounts and pages discussing potential violence. Those not removed will not eligible for group or page suggestions.

Moreover, Facebook will soon have them ranked lower in the News Feed. And any related hashtags and title will have limited searchability. 

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Facebook will prohibit them from running ads and selling products. And soon, it will prohibit running ads and fundraising to praise, support, or represent these groups. 

This is not the first time Facebook took action against QAnon. In its April report, Facebook removed accounts, groups, and pages promoting QAnon conspiracy theories. They also removed accounts linked to Russia and Iran. It was the first time that Facebook publicly declared its crackdown against QAnon public. 

Facebook said it would continue to review its policy to "keep people safe." It warned that it would remove content from these groups that do conform to the policies. It includes deleting fake accounts, harassment, and hate speech. Meanwhile, they will limit the visibility of content meant to disinform. Lastly, Facebook will ban any non-state actor or group deemed dangerous.

What is QAnon?

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory. They allege that the country is controlled by a "deep state" that wants to bring down Trump. NBC reported that QAnon-related pages and groups have over 3 million members and followers. In early August, it was reported that Facebook had discovered thousands of related groups and pages. 

President Trump distanced himself from the QAnon conspiracy theory. On Wednesday, he said that apart from knowing that they like him, he doesn't know much about them. 

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