Wednesday 10/28/20

Facebook removes 790 groups tied to QAnon conspiracy theory

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has labelled QAnon a potential domestic terrorism threat.
FILED - 22 August 2018, Cologne: The logo of Facebook is pictured at the Gamescom video games fair. Facebook removed more than 7 million posts in the second quarter containing coronavirus misinformation that could potentially harm people's health, the social media giant said on Tuesday. Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa
The logo of Facebook is pictured at the Gamescom video games fair. Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa.

Facebook on Wednesday announced that it had removed 790 groups from its site that were related to the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon.

The tech giant also said it is restricting around 1,950 groups, 440 pages, and over 10,000 Instagram accounts tied to QAnon, an internet-based, wide-ranging conspiracy theory that has been growing online in the months since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Facebook will also take action against pages, groups, and Instagram accounts tied to US-based militia groups and offline anarchist groups that support violence at protests, the company said in a statement.

“We have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior,” Facebook said in a statement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has labelled QAnon a potential domestic terrorism threat.

It has largely existed as an online fringe movement whose proponents falsely claim that the world is run by paedophiles who operate a global child trafficking ring and plot to overthrow US President Donald Trump.

But the movement has gained some traction recently, and one supporter of the theory in the southern state of Georgia is running as a Republican Party candidate and could be elected to the US House of Representatives.

Trump: "They like me very much"

Trump was asked about the conspiracy and its growing number of followers during a press conference Wednesday, and said he doesn't know much about the movement other than that "they like me very much, which I appreciate."

"If I can help save the world from problems I'm willing to do it. I'm willing to put myself out there," Trump said in reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory that claims he is saving the world from a Satanic cult.

Facebook has previously been criticized for allowing fake news and conspiracy theories to flourish on its website, in particular in the run up to the 2016 US presidential elections.

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