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Facebook removes hundreds of QAnon groups, limits thousands more

Facebook (Dreamstime/TNS)

Facebook Inc. has removed or restricted hundreds of Pages, accounts and Groups from its main social network and Instagram that are linked to the far-right conspiracy group QAnon, saying the accounts violate a newly expanded version of its policy regarding “dangerous individuals and organizations.”

As part of the update, the company said it will forbid groups that have “demonstrated significant risks to public safety” from using Facebook’s products to discuss violence. The company removed more than 790 Groups, 100 Pages and 1,500 ads tied to QAnon from Facebook as a result. The company also added restrictions to over 1,950 QAnon Groups and 440 Pages on Facebook and more than 10,000 accounts on Instagram, its photo-sharing app, which block them from running ads or appearing in search results.

Facebook didn’t ban QAnon entirely. The group spreads misinformation related to what participants call a “deep state” conspiracy against U.S. President Donald Trump, claiming he is fighting a cabal of government insiders and Hollywood elites involved in child sex trafficking. QAnon pushes its message across social media sites, including Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube.

Twitter banned thousands of QAnon accounts in July. Facebook took its first action against QAnon-associated Groups in May, but the beliefs have only proliferated on the social network since then. NBC News reported this month that an internal investigation at Facebook found thousands of Groups and Pages with millions of members and followers associated with QAnon.

Facebook said it also removed more than 1,000 Pages and Groups for being “militia organizations and those encouraging riots,” some of which are linked to the far-left antifa movement.


© 2020 Bloomberg News

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