Facebook Says It Will Now Remove All Qanon Content

New policy begins Tuesday

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Facebook on Tuesday afternoon said it would now remove all QAnon content on its platform, expanding on a position it took in August to limit the reach of the right-wing conspiracy theory.

“Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” Facebook said in a blog post. “This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement.”

The new policy will go into effect immediately, Facebook said, but that it will “take time” to weed out the content over the coming days and weeks. Facebook’s “dangerous organizations operations” team will look to “proactively detect content for removal,” rather than relying on users to report QAnon posts, the company said.

In August, Facebook banned nearly 800 QAnon groups as part of a purge targeting groups that “celebrated violent acts.” On Tuesday, Facebook said it had decided to step up its policing of QAnon content after studying the “impact” its had on the platform over the last few months.

“For example, while we’ve removed QAnon content that celebrates and supports violence, we’ve seen other QAnon content tied to different forms of real world harm, including recent claims that the west coast wildfires were started by certain groups, which diverted attention of local officials from fighting the fires and protecting the public,” Facebook said. “Additionally, QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another.”

If you’re not familiar with QAnon, here’s how The New York Times summarized the movement recently:

“QAnon was once a fringe phenomenon — the kind most people could safely ignore. But in recent months, it’s gone mainstream. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks have been flooded with QAnon-related false information about Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter protests and the 2020 election. QAnon supporters have also been trying to attach themselves to other activist causes, such as the anti-vaccine and anti-child-trafficking movements, in an effort to expand their ranks.”

Previously, QAnon has said there was a deep state conspiracy to take down President Trump, led by a group running a covert child sex-trafficking ring.

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