Facebook Expands Policy to Take Down QAnon and US Militias

Facebook has removed or restricted over 10,000 Groups, Pages and accounts across the social network and Instagram linked to conspiracy theory outfit QAnon as part of a major new crackdown on it and US militias and anarchist groups.

The social media giant announced an expansion of its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy yesterday to cover those who have “demonstrated significant risks to public safety” but are not necessarily designated as a dangerous organization and banned outright.

“Under this policy expansion, we will impose restrictions to limit the spread of content from Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts. We will also remove Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts where we identify discussions of potential violence, including when they use veiled language and symbols particular to the movement to do so,” it continued.

“While we will allow people to post content that supports these movements and groups, so long as they do not otherwise violate our content policies, we will restrict their ability to organize on our platform.”

In Facebook’s armory are the options of: removing outright Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts linked to the movements, limiting recommendations to others, lowering their ranking in news feeds and search results, banning their Pages from running ads and preventing them selling products or raising funds in other ways.

“As a result of some of the actions we’ve already taken, we’ve removed over 790 groups, 100 Pages and 1500 ads tied to QAnon from Facebook, blocked over 300 hashtags across Facebook and Instagram, and additionally imposed restrictions on over 1950 Groups and 440 Pages on Facebook and over 10,000 accounts on Instagram,” Facebook said.

However, the new policy is not only intended to cover the right-wing conspiracy theory movement, but also “militia organizations and those encouraging riots, including some who may identify as Antifa.”

The social network said it has removed over 980 groups, 520 Pages and 160 ads from Facebook and restricted over 1400 hashtags related to these organizations.

As well as encouraging violence, these groups have also been accused of spreading misinformation. QAnon, for example, has been blamed for spreading lies about COVID-19 and famously purports that Donald Trump is secretly battling an underground faction of celebrities and Democrats that are members of a global pedophile ring.

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