Facebook cracking down on QAnon
Facebook is taking steps to hide content from groups affiliated with QAnon, a conspiracy theory that revolves around President Trump fighting a deep state that includes a secret global cabal of pedophiles. The company announced in a blog post on Thursday that it will ban all advertising that expresses "praise, support or represent militarized social movements and QAnon."
It also announced that users who follow groups restricted under the company's past policies aimed at tamping down on conspiracy groups will see posts from restricted pages far lower down their news feed than before.
"On September 16, we started down-ranking content in the Pages and Groups that have been restricted but not removed. Now, people who are members of Groups that have been restricted and follow Pages that have been restricted, will see content from these Groups and Pages further down in their News Feed," said Facebook.
"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," the company continued.
Facebook has faced criticism for months over the widespread prevalence of conspiracy-minded groups on its platform, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic during which many right-wing conspiracy pages have spread disinformation about everything from the virus itself to the effectiveness of masks and the safety of vaccines.
Facebook admins announced earlier this year that 20 Facebook accounts and six groups originating in the U.S. and linked to the QAnon movement had been removed under the site's policies against inauthentic activity.
The QAnon conspiracy theory, which emerged first on right-leaning anonymous message boards, baselessly alleges that the Democratic Party, and in particular its 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, are linked to a global ring of pedophiles.
Posts linked to the conspiracy theory's mysterious author have in the past falsely claimed that Clinton herself would be arrested as a result of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.
The US justice department filed a lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, accusing the tech company of abusing its position to maintain an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a House GOP candidate who has shown support for QAnon, sparred with Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) on Twitter over the weekend regarding a recent House-passed resolution condemning the conspiracy theory.
Facebook has removed hundreds of fake profiles it has linked to the conservative group Turning Point USA for carrying out organized attacks on the site, including attempts to influence public conversations by flooding news articles with pro-Trump comments and misinformation.
Facebook is banning all pages, groups, and accounts associated with QAnon, the company announced on Tuesday, in the most significant action taken against the mass delusion that has seeped into the highest level of American politics. “Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon,” the company said in a press release. “We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks.”