Facebook Takes Major Actions Against QAnon And Other Militarized Social Movementss

The American conglomerate Facebook announced on Wednesday afternoon that it’s taking stringent actions against QAnon and other militarized social movements. In their latest move, they will prohibit anyone that runs ads to praise QAnon or represent any militarized social organizations.

Last month, Facebook banned over 900 pages and 1,500 ads linked to QAnon, a group that has been allegedly tied to various violent criminal accidents which include murder, train hijacking, and kidnappings, among others. The company’s actions come against these groups as a part of their policy expansion plans which restricts the discussion of political violence.

“We are taking steps to address evidence that QAnon adherents are increasingly using the issue of child safety and hashtags like #savethechildren to recruit and organize. Starting today, we will direct people to credible child safety resources when they search for certain child safety hashtags. In addition, content about QAnon and child safety is eligible for fact checking through our third-party fact-checking program,” Facebook said in its blog post.

In the midst of September, Facebook said that they have started downranking these kinds of pages; however, it has not yet been successful to remove them all. The social media company said they will be reducing the content supporting QAnon groups from the News Feed and filter from them from the hashtags and explore section. It also added that they will be prohibiting fundraising that represents these groups and movements.

Facebook is striving to debunk the maximum of the content that gives misinformation or misleads the users. The company has escalated their actions ahead of the U.S. elections on November 3, 2020. QAnon has become a popular conspiracy theory group, alleging that Donald Trump is fighting against Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Thus, now to avoid the backlash that Facebook had faced for the mismanagement during the election in 2016, the company is aggressively targeting these groups.

In July 2020, Twitter announced that it’s limiting the reach of QAnon content. Twitter’s spokesperson said that it has taken more than 7,000 QAnon accounts which broke their policy violations. In the statement, it also added that its action will affect over 150,000 accounts. Last year, the FBI had identified QAnon as a potential domestic terrorist threat.

The coronavirus crisis had led the QAnon groups and content to expand their root. These groups were not limited to the U.S. but it had sowed their seeds in Australia and New Zealand. It created loads of misinformation in these regions which includes 5G towers spreading COVID-19, claiming that the pandemic is a hoax, while also deteriorating public vaccine programs. “We have seen the emergence of transnational, amorphous conspiracy-theory based movements,” says Joshua Roose, a senior research fellow at Deakin University in Australia. “All share a strong distrust in government and state institutions.”

According to the reports from Time, a Facebook group was started in Australia that has more than 65,000 QAnon supporters; however, the group was later eliminated from the social media platform. The influence of QAnon was also spread to Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook. Various conspiracy theory pages were growing at an aggressive rate while Instagram took down these accounts under Facebook’s new policies.