On Wednesday, the social media giant Facebook in a controversial decision removed around 800 QAnon groups for posts that allegedly ‘celebrated violence’ and showed ‘intent to use weapons’ or try to attract followers with ‘patterns of violent behaviour’.
According to the reports, Facebook has also imposed restrictions on 1,950 more public and private QAnon accounts. These accounts will not be recommended to users and will be harder to find in Facebook searches as well.
Facebook had removed nearly 800 QAnon conspiracy groups for posts celebrating violence, showing intent to use weapons, or attracting followers with patterns of violent behavior: Reuters pic.twitter.com/dL9WnKtiBf— ANI (@ANI) August 20, 2020
QAnon is a collective term for groups of activists and right-wing conspiracy theorists, who are often known for supporting United States President Donald Trump ever since he announced to contest for the US presidential elections of 2016. The internet activists have made serious allegations stating that key Democrats are part of a child-sex racketing and ran a paedophile ring out of a restaurant basement in Washington DC.
The movement centres on posting anonymous information using the nickname Q, who claims to be a high-ranking official in the Trump administration. The movement began in secret corners of the internet, has now entered mainstream politics recently.
The conspiracy theorists had once asserted that Democratic and Hollywood elites worship the devil, eat children, and they have already been executed after secret military tribunals and replaced by actors.
New QAnon groups have been created
Removing these accounts, Facebook said that some of these followers have formed new groups with code words, hence tracking them down would be an ongoing task. Facebook said that thousands of its users belong to one or more QAnon group, but declined to give more information.
Facebook has been under increasing pressure to check the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories, leading to the 2020 presidential elections.
Previously, Twitter had also removed thousands of QAnon accounts from its network. Even Google had blocked QAnon-related videos from YouTube for violating its guidelines. Earlier, the FBI has identified QAnon as a potential domestic terror threat, and that some of its followers have been charged with murder and kidnapping.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump reacted to banning of QAnon accounts on Facebook, said that he did not know much about the QAnon groups, but said that they held a favourable view of him. “I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much,” he said.